>> Monday, November 29, 2010
BAGUIO CITY – Jueteng is back with a vengeance in parts of northern Luzon particularly Pangasinan and Benguet towns of Buguias and Mankayan, sources said.
To date no police chief has yet been relieved in these areas under the “one strike policy” of the Philippine National Police.
The policy mandates any police chief found remiss in his duties for jueteng operations under his turf would be relieved.
In the Cordillera, regional police authorities based in Camp Dangwa, Benguet remained silent on rampant jueteng operations in Buguias and Mankayan or whether police chiefs in those areas would be relieved.
At the Ilocos Region police headquarters in Camp Florendo, San Fernando City, La Union, Supt. Orlando Mabutas, regional police director, told newsmen he was still confirming if indeed jueteng has returned in the region particularly Pangasinan.
He said if confirmed, police chiefs in areas where jueteng operates would be relieved in accordance with the one-strike policy.
In Pangasinan, sources said jueteng has returned in all six districts, the turf of retired Lingayen Archbishop Oscar Cruz, who earlier linked local and national personalities to the illegal numbers game.
It is business as usual for kubradors (bet collectors) after a certain Orduna allegedly gave the go-signal for jueteng operators in the six districts to resume operations.
A certain “Boy Bata” allegedly operates jueteng in Binmaley, Lingayen, Bugallon and San Fabian towns and Dagupan City.
A certain Mallorca reportedly operates in Bayambang, Malasiqui, Mangaldan, Manaoag and Mapandan towns.
Another jueteng operator identified as a certain Co reportedly operates in the fifth district.
In the sixth district, a certain Marlon is reportedly the jueteng boss.
In Aguilar, Mangatarem, Urbiztondo and Basista towns, jueteng is reportedly under a certain Sison.
A certain Bebot is reportedly the operator in Villasis, Sto. Tomas, Alcala, Bautista and Carmen towns.
In the past, these operators were supposedly the ones behind jueteng in the province.
According to sources, daily jueteng bets in the six districts of Pangasinan reach P10 million but the amount could become higher with the yuletide season.
Despite these, provincial police director Senior Supt. Rosueto Ricaforte told local newsmen Wednesday, “There is no jueteng in Pangasinan. I’m challenging you (referring to those who claim there is jueteng), you come over here and see for yourself.”
He said many called him, including the Philippine National Police chief, about reports there is jueteng in the province. “Wala talaga dito (There is really none here). “I assure you, I will arrest them. If they insist, I will jail them.”
Ricaforte said those collecting bets were from neighboring towns of Pangasinan where there was small town lottery.
“These operators use people from Pangasinan to bring the collections to their area,” he said. “But that is still illegal,” he said.
Last Monday, Archbishop Cruz, chairman of Krusada ng Bayan Laban sa Jueteng, said he was sad over the return of jueteng in the country, including Pangasinan.
He added he was wondering why President Aquino keeps silent about it.
In Ifugao, Gov. Eugene Balitang said the illegal numbers game has never taken root in the province despite attempts by jueteng operators.
Balitang warned jueteng operators not to push their luck too much by trying to enter Ifugao through guerrilla-type or run-and-gun operations.
“We Ifugaos will never allow jueteng operations in¬¬side the province or even take bets anywhere here. So, to all jue¬teng operators, you can run, but you can’t hide. We will run after you,” Balitang said.
Operators of the said illegal numbers game had tried in previous years to enter the province, even as recent as the incumbency of then governor Teodoro Baguilat Jr., now representative of Ifugao’s lone congressional district, but failed to establish a permanent presence.
Reports showed they even tried to put up a base in the southern part of the province but, due to the combined strong opposition of the provincial government and other sectors of society and lack of support from the public, have been unable to do so.
Senior Supt. Lawrence Mombael, Ifugao police director, vowed before the provincial government and the Church that he will make sure the illegal numbers operations will not succeed in the province, since he himself is from Ifugao’s Mayoyao town.
“Many have been attempting to put up bases for jueteng operations in Ifugao.”
“With the constant vigilance of our men and with the support of the provincial government and the people, we will make sure that they are not able to do so,” he said.
It is a result of this vigilance that no jueteng operators have so far been able to establish a foothold in Ifugao despite attempts, Mombael said. – With a report from Charlie Lagasca