Cordi PNP chief orders drive against gambling; 15 nabbed

>> Sunday, June 24, 2018

2 cops arrested by Camp Crame group victims of frame up? 

CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet -- A total of 15 jueteng bet collectors and gamblers were nabbed in Cordillera last week after Cordillera police director Chief Supt. Rolando Zambale Nana ordered his men to increase drive against illegal gambling and other crimes.
Nana urged the public to report also policemen who are accepting money or operating illegal gambling in their communities after two cops, one from the Cordillera were arrested in La Trinidad two weeks ago by members of a task force from Camp Crame for alleged involvement in illegal gambling and extortion.
Entrapped two weeks ago on complaint of a certain Ryan Abing Olsina and Jerbin Pulac Velasco who both claimed to be a collector and operator of STL in La Trinidad were SPO2 Paulino Lubos Jr. and SPO4 Gilbert Legaspi who were assigned with the Intelligence Division of the Benguet Provincial Police Office.
This, as out of the 15, six suspects were separately arrested playing games in Baguio City. A total P4,485 bet money was reportedly confiscated with several gambling paraphernalia while six cases were filed in court.
Police Station 10 cops arrested Ador Raquipo Geron, 46; Vergel Bucal Talabis, 34; Catalino Sadcoyan Adiwang, 55, in Purok 7, Barangay Dontogan.
This, while personnel of  Baguio Police Station 2 arrested Lander Fedcha, 25; Jeffrey Padilla, 28 and Justin Alejandro, 25 at No.1 Bokawkan Road. 
Confiscated during the operation was P740 bet money and gambling paraphernalia. 
The persons were also nabbed in Barangay Banacao, Bangued, Abra named as Concordia Almazan Blanes, Macrilda Dacayan Blanes and Ednalyn Belledo Bersalona.
Confiscated from them was P335 bet money as a set of playing cards.
Meanwhile, the two police officers who were nabbed were reportedly “scapegoats” in a gambling turf war as they were nabbed by a heavily-armed anti-scalawag PNP unit for allegedly extorting money from two bet collectors (kubradores) of the Small Town Lottery.
The local PCSO branch office has not admitted that complainants were PCSO employees.
Reports said those behind the arrest of the two cops and who financed the lightning operation were afraid of being eased out from STL and jueteng operations in Benguet once illegal gambling cases are filed against the bet collector and operator.
The police operatives reportedly believed the two complainants’ statement that Lubos and Legaspi allegedly demanded money from P5,000 to P40,000 from them in exchange for not filing any cases against arrested employees of the illegal operation of STL.
These statements by the complainants were reportedly made part of the police operative unit’s report to their boss, and made part of the plan to make the issue bigger and to justify their operation.   
The two arrested cops, along with their companions were reportedly driven around Baguio before they were brought to Manila where charges were filed against them, instead of bringing them to the Benguet Prosecutors Office for inquest proceedings.
In Manila, a DOJ official, after more than 200 hours since the arrest, issued a resolution indicting Lubos and Legaspi of the crime of violation of Article 294 Section 5 of the Revised Penal Code or simple robbery for the alleged amount of P3,000.
Lubos and Legaspi were reportedly illegally detained against their will even as   Prosecutor Borgy Vedana Calugay recommended in his resolution bail of P100,000 each for their provisional liberty for “robbing” P3,000.
There is reportedly no Authorized Agent Corporation (AAC) or STL operator in Benguet or the other provinces in the Cordillera Region.
However, an STL operation is collecting bets in Baguio and Benguet which is outside its operating franchise, supposedly a violation of the agreement with the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
Observers said it is public knowledge that STL bet collectors are given green vests and IDs to wear to show the public a semblance of legitimacy, but STL bet collectors are the same guys who collect bets for jueteng.
Sen. Ping Lacson confirmed this in a Senate hearing last year saying jueteng bet collectors use the IDs for guerrilla operations the PCSO issued.
“It’s happening on the ground and the police know that,” said the senator, a former chief of the Philippine National Police.
Somebody in the police hierarchy is reportedly protecting jueteng and illegal STL operations fearing that it will be found out that the former has bigger collections than the latter.
The PCSO is being cheated out of an estimated P50 billion a year in its STL operations, according to Lacson.
Since STL and jueteng operations could not be controlled, there is reportedly fear among operators that both gambling operations may be removed altogether.
STL was launched by government supposedly to stamp out jueteng, an illegal numbers racket in the country.
But gambling lords instead used STL as a front for jueteng as the two games have similar mechanics. STL and jueteng involve betting on two-number combinations from 1 to 40 for the former and from 1 to 37 for the latter.
A congressional inquiry in 1990 found that franchises for STL had been awarded to the same people behind jueteng.
In Lacson’s committee hearing last year, PCSO officials blamed the PNP for supposed lack of commitment to eliminate jueteng and other forms of illegal gambling.
PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan said he was disappointed and dismayed by the performance of the police.
Balutan, a retired Marine general, said they received reports of police officials receiving payola from gambling lords in spite of Executive Order No. 13 that President Duterte signed last year.
As for PCSO, observers said it maybe allowing the illegal operations of STL and jueteng in an area outside the jurisdiction of its franchise like Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation – a company that has been accused by former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II as the competitor to STL across provinces in Luzon.
Meridien is allegedly behind the jueteng-like operations in provinces namely; Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Benguet, Rizal, Cavite, Oriental Mindoro, Camarines Sur, Camarines  Norte and Albay. Not all of these provinces have STL franchises.
To be able to operate STL legally in an LGU, the PCSO-approved franchise must be accompanied by an ordinance and a memorandum of agreement.
In some LGUs, public approval through public hearings is held.
No such things were ever conducted in any municipality in Benguet, but bets are reportedly still being collected by shady characters in green vests and IDs.  


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