LEGAZPI CITY, 06-May-2013 (PNA) – Operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) based in Camp Crame in Quezon City raided a jueteng den in a subdivision, about several hundred meters away from the city police headquarters, in Barangay Bitano here on Friday afternoon, a police report said Saturday.
The CIDG raiders, armed with a search warrant issued by Municipal Trial Court in the Cities Judge Amy Ana L. Villa-Rosero for violation of Presidential Decree 1602, arrested 11 persons and confiscated P8,100 cash and jueteng paraphernalia, a computer set and a white board during the raid at a rented house in Our Lady’s Village, Barangay Bitano, which is only about 600 meters away from the Legazpi City Police Office.
The police report said the arrested persons were placed under the custody of the CIDG regional office at Camp Simeon Ola here and charges for violation of the anti-gambling law will be filed before the Legazpi City Prosecutor’s Office on Monday.
The raid drew praises from anti-gambling advocates, who had earlier criticized the much-vaunted one-strike policy of the Philippine National Police as only in paper because of the rampant existence of the illegal numbers game jueteng in the Bicol region, specifically in Albay, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon and Camarines Norte.
In a text message, retired Lingayen Archbishop Oscar Cruz of the Krusada Kontra Jueteng, however, said the Legazpi raid is simply called 1-3–which meant “pakitang tao or consuelo de bobo,” 2-3 for “Matuwid na Daan” to include all kinds of gambling–casino for the rich, lotto for the middle class, and jueteng for the poor.
Early in January, following the assumption of Chief Supt. Clarence Guinto as PNP Bicol regional director, the media asked why the much-vaunted PNP’s one-strike policy was not being carried out against the open operation of the illegal numbers game.
Media practitioners posing as jueteng bettors claimed that jueteng bet collectors accept bets for both jueteng and the virtual gaming, with jueteng as the more favorite to be offered by collectors.
Supt. Renato Bataller, PNP Bicol spokesman, however, defended the PNP’s one- strike policy as a national policy and that the allegations of rampant illegal numbers game in most part of Bicol was actually the “virtual gaming” of the Meridien Vista Virtual Gaming Corp. which has a permit from Cagayan Economic Zone Authority and permits to operate from the provincial governors and municipal mayors, despite it being declared illegal by the national government.
The local non-governmental organization Pipols Against Graft and Corruption said the PNP knew that Meridien Gaming is only being used as a front for the illegal numbers game, citing reports that Meridien remittances to provincial or municipal and city treasurers are so small that it is done only to prove that there Meridien operation is aboveboard and not jueteng.
Albay Gov.Joey Sarte Salceda said all that he knew is that the Meridien operation in Albay is allowed by a provincial board resolution.
He said the police should be made to explain and suffer the consequences for the raided jueteng operation.
On the other hand, former mayor Noel Rosal, now running for mayor again, said the city did not issue a permit for Meridien but said he thought all the way that the alleged jueteng operation in the city is a legal Meridien operation in view of the provincial board permit given some four years ago.
The cities of Legazpi, Tabaco and Ligao are the centers of jueteng operations in Albay, with the town of Daraga having the biggest collection among municipalities.
The overall daily gross collections from jueteng reportedly reach P8 million, according to a source. (PNA)