Groups rally against illegal gambling in Baguio, Benguet: Jueteng full blast in northern Luzon

>> Tuesday, December 14, 2010

BAGUIO CITY – Jueteng has returned in most northern Luzon provinces even as cause-oriented groups rallied here Monday against illegal gambling like jueteng which intensified in Benguet particularly the towns of La Trinidad, Buguias and Mankayan.

Sources said jueteng had been running for almost a month in most northern Luzon areas like Region 1 despite denials of government officials and police chiefs.

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 Baguio, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement, United Methodist Church and students marched down Session Road to City Hall Monday to press officials to stop illegal gambling.

Rallyists said they were opposing rampant gambling – legal or illegal -- in Baguio and Benguet like jueteng, lotto, bingo, tong-it, jai-Alai among others.

“Gambling is not only prohibited by the law but it is also prohibited by the law of God," said Braulio Yaranon, former city mayor and judge who joined the rallyists.

After Yaranon’s speech, Catholic bishop Bishop Carlito Cenzon said the rally was done for everyone especially for young people.

He noted placards written by protesters like: “We who made gambling, we who’ll stop it.” Others: “Gambling is a sin to God, it makes life miserable” and “In gambling everybody loses.”

City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said everyone that they should listen to what the pastor and the bishop said. “We should join hands to support the task force against illegal gambling.”

Archbishop Oscar Cruz earlier dared President Aquino to totally stop jueteng in the country which he said, is now rampant in Region 1

Cruz, who chairs the Krusada ng Bayan Laban sa Jueteng (People’s Crusade Against Jueteng) said in his home base here it is not true that lotto is easing out jueteng.

There are frequent draws in jueteng – three times a day – compared to lotto’s three draws per week. He added it is also cheaper to bet on jueteng.

In Baguio for the past weeks, jueteng operators resurrected the illegal numbers game by holding draws near Malcolm Square at the central business district at the foot of Session Road.

The operators claimed it was bingo, but members of Task Force Jupiter raided the area Tuesday and found no bingo materials.

Task force members instead found jueteng paraphernalia. Police said, if the games were indeed bingo, then there should have been a lot of people at the draw venue.

The group, which was formed by Mayor to sop illegal gambling in the city, arrested three jueteng revisadores who said they were from Batangas.

Sources said jueteng collectors known as kubradores got bets from nearby barangays.

At the Ilocos Region police headquarters in Camp Florendo, San Fernando City, La Union, Supt. Orlando Mabutas, regional police director, has not yet confirmed if indeed jueteng has returned in the region particularly Pangasinan.

It has been a month already since he first said he was still confirming whether jueteng is back in Pangasinan or other parts of region 1.

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.

It is now business as usual for kubradors 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, “There is no jueteng in Pangasinan.”

Ricaforte earlier said those collecting bets were from neighboring towns of Pangasinan where there was small town lottery. -- With reports from Genevieve Pacheco, Jerry Padilla, Jennelyn Mondejar and Armand Tamaray


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