Tuesday, September 05, 2006

PNP chief vows all-out war on ‘jueteng’

By the Inquirer Northern, Central Luzon
CAMP OLIVAS, PAMPANGA—The chief of the Philippine National Police on Monday said a fresh crackdown on “jueteng” operations in seven Luzon regions had been launched, with Friday set as initial deadline for the validation of the jueteng-free status of those areas.

“We started the new drive (Monday) and this is supposed to be all out. If [regional commanders] are not able to stop the game today up to Friday, I have readied teams from the national headquarters to conduct the raids,” Director General Oscar Calderon told the Inquirer by mobile phone.

The campaign covers the Ilocos, Cordillera, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Bicol and Metro Manila.

Aside from arresting underground lottery collectors and conducting raids, police chiefs in the provinces, cities and towns were also directed to coordinate the campaign with the local governments, Calderon said.

“Local officials have a corresponding responsibility in this. It cannot just be the police,” he said.

If there was a “deadliest (ultimate) deadline,” Calderon said he would have it by the end of the month.

“If at the end of the month there are still areas where jueteng exists, then we will take extra efforts there,” he said.

He said he reiterated his instructions to police chiefs to “exert extra attention and efforts in areas where the government-approved small town lottery has licenses and is used as cover for jueteng by either bookies operators or STL collectors.”

He said he also suggested to the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, the government agency that grants STL licenses, to do more promotions for STL. “This is the legal game so it must be maximized,” he added.

In Central Luzon, jueteng operations have stopped in Zambales and Olongapo City as of Monday morning, according to Chief Supt. Ismael Rafanan, regional police director.

“That is based on the morning reports. That still has to be continually validated. Operations are ongoing in Tarlac,” he said.

He said it might take the Central Luzon police two to three days to complete the validation. “Jueteng is not like a machine that you can shut off in a day,” he added.

In the Pampanga capital city of San Fernando, the supposed campaign appeared to have been ignored. Jueteng collectors in a village went on collecting bets at past 3 p.m. Monday.

In Dagupan City, Archbishop Oscar Cruz said jueteng operations in Ilocos region, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog have been diminishing. Tonette Orejas and Anselmo Roque, Inquirer Central Luzon; Yolanda Sotelo-Fuertes, Desiree Caluza and Cristina Arzadon, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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