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Police given 15 days to end illegal gambling

By AARON B. RECUENCO

Police regional directors across the country were given 15 days to stop illegal numbers game, particularly “jueteng” in Metro Manila and Luzon amid criticisms of the alleged “anemic performance” of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in running after gambling financiers.

PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa warned that if regional directors fail to comply with his order, he would not hesitate to relieve them from their posts and replace them with competent ones.

“I am directing all Regional Directors to go all out against illegal gambling. I am giving them 15 days to stop illegal gambling. I think it’s enough (time),” said Dela Rosa.

In order to be fair, Dela Rosa said he also gave the regional directors the authority to relieve non-performing provincial directors and for the provincial directors to sack chiefs of police who would not do well in the campaign against illegal gambling.

Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan earlier criticized the PNP leadership for not doing well in the campaign against illegal numbers game, particularly those using the Small Town Lottery as front to jueteng.

Balutan even declared that they would push to cut by at least 50 percent the PNP share on the revenues of the PCSO from STL operation.

But Dela Rosa said the PCSO could cancel everything that they share to the PNP for as long as they would not be used as scapegoat and be blamed in the proliferation of illegal gambling.

“We can operate without them supporting us. But don’t use us as scapegoat, we will do our job,” said Dela Rosa.

He said that as a proof that they are serious in the campaign against illegal gambling, the 15-day deadline is the solution that he sees to pressure the regional directors to end jueteng and other forms of illegal gambling.

“I promise that we will do our job, we will be eliminating illegal gambling. Fifteen days is enough. If not, we will start relieving commanders,” said Dela Rosa.

The Chief PNP, however, appealed to legitimate STL operators to police their own ranks and make sure that they do not tolerate illegal gambling.

Citing past experience, he disclosed that it was the legitimate bookie operators who would save the illegal gambling collectors that the local police would arrest.

“You’ve been using us as whipping boy in this illegal gambling problem. We are all out in the illegal gambling but we are appealing that you lay down your cards,” said Dela Rosa.

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