Thursday, April 28, 2005

Jueteng bosses stop operations in countryside

By Ben Gamos and Fred Roxas, MT Central Luzon Bureau

Except for Cagayan Valley, jueteng operations abruptly ceased in all regions of Luzon on Wednesday amid the brewing controversy over the illegal numbers game.

The police in the regions of the Ilocos, Central Luzon, Bicol and Southern Tagalog launched a crackdown on jueteng after an unnamed police official claimed that certain individuals close to high government officials were protecting and profiting from jueteng operations.

Regional and provincial police offices issued press releases announcing how many anti­jueteng operations they conducted and how many people were arrested for illegal gambling.

In Camp Olivas, Pampanga, Chief Supt. Rowland Albano, the regional police chief, admitted in an interview that the police have eased up on anti­jueteng operations because they were kept busy in dealing with serious crimes, like drug trafficking, insurgency, robbery holdups, hijacking and car theft.

But the regional police’s campaign against illegal gambling has resulted in the arrest of 468 jueteng collectors in 205 raids conducted since last January, confiscation of more than P213,864 in bet money and the filing of 102 cases filed in court.

Albano warned all police chiefs under his jurisdiction to exert all efforts in eradicating all forms of illegal gambling in their respective jurisdictions.

Local police authorities also called on the support and cooperation of the governors, city and municipal mayors as well as barangay officials in the renewed campaign against illegal gambling.

In Bulacan, the police reported that 20 bet collectors were arrested in the antijueteng operations in Paombong, Santa Maria, Bocane, Pulilan and Meycauayan. The Paombang drive netted the biggest amount of confiscated bet mo­ney—P11,238 from six bet collectors.

It appears to have been the first time the arrested bet collectors were detained for failure to post bail. In the past, arrested bet collectors could immediately post the bail of P1,000 and were back on their ‘job.’”

In the Ilocos region, sources told The Manila Times that jueteng operators and financiers instructed their collectors and table operators to temporarily cease draws until the ongoing controversy subsides.

“They told us to temporarily stop our operations because of the jueteng issue and advised us to report after the problem has calmed down,” a bet collector said in Ilocano language.

The source said the order was sent to all the operators and table managers through text messages on Monday night after the third and last draw. It said the message was relayed to the chief bet collector who relayed the information to the collectors. Draws were suspended Tuesday morning

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