>> Monday, July 26, 2010
BAGUIO CITY– Jueteng operations are still ongoing in this tourism resort city, Benguet province and other parts of northern Luzon despite a directive of President Aquino to stop the illegal numbers game even as some operations were ‘toned down” at press time reportedly in anticipation of the State of the Nation Address of the President tomorrow, sources said.
A warning of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jessie Robredo here during his recent visit that officers and men of the Philippine National Police would be subjected to lifestyle checks if illegal gambling, particularly jueteng, will be discovered in their areas of jurisdiction was reportedly not heeded by operators and their “protectors.”
There was reportedly a lull in operations but jueteng collectors were back on the streets after he left.
Robredo told local and police officials in the Cordillera that the campaign of the national government against jueteng is an all-out war that will be waged into the lowest ranks of the police force who are supposedly in charge of curbing illegal gambling in their areas of assignments.
Baguio and Benguet are known strongholds of jueteng because several jueteng lords in Central and Northern Luzon are trying to outwit each other to gain control of gambling operations in the two juicy places.
In the coming days, Robredo will be meeting with officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office to discuss a more systematic way on how the controversial Small town Lottery (STL) will be able to be used in eventually stopping illegal gambling nationwide.
According to him, if previous DILG officials were not able to sustain their campaign against jueteng, the Aquino administration should be given a fair chance of doing their own thing in stopping jueteng since their effort will be a relentless operation that will not adhere to political pressure to be exerted on them since it is the order of President Aquino, the highest leader of the land.
Considering that they will be hounded by stiff opposition from numerous local and police officials who are benefitting from jueteng operations, Robredo said political will is needed in order to what the top to bottom jueteng payola being given out by the jueteng lords to maintain their operations in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
Jueteng, the so-called poor man’s game, was the root cause of the ouster of former President Joseph Estrada who was booted out of power through the People Power Revolution II due to allegations of huge jueteng payola given to him by gambling lords.
Robredo said the police plays an important role in curbing jueteng, thus, more efforts must be exerted by law enforcement agencies in order to go against jueteng bet collectors who often do their trade in front of the noses of the police which is an insult to the men in uniform or an indication that they are involved in the take of the substantial jueteng payola being circulated in their level.
Based on insiders in the jueteng trade, the illegal gambling operations in a certain area is approved by the concerned local chief executive and the provincial, city and municipal chiefs of police.
He said the 1, 2 or 3-strike policy being enforced by the leadership of the Philippine national Police (PNP) on their chiefs of police, saying that it is just part of the corruption circle considering that the jueteng payola being given to them trickles down to the lowly policeman on the field but on a limited basis.