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More ‘casino cops’ on PNP watchlist

By AARON B. RECUENCO

Less than 10 policemen and other government employees are now on the monitoring list of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) for their repeated entry in various casinos in Metro Manila.

NCRPO chief Director Oscar Albayalde said the information about government employees entering casinos despite strict prohibition of President Duterte is based on tips and intelligence reports.

“We have identified some who are entering the casinos. They are not only policemen but government employees from other agencies,” Albayalde disclosed in a press briefing.

The prohibition for government employees from entering casinos is part of the anti-corruption drive under the premise that those playing in casinos have the tendency to engage in corruption.

Several factors that led to the prohibition include the case of a former employee of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) who got addicted and later stormed a casino that left several people dead, and the alleged involvement of some policemen in the operation of loan sharks in the casinos.

Recently, Supt. Adrian Antonio was arrested after he was caught playing inside a casino, with Albayalde confirming that the official has been in and out of the casino based on surveillance cameras.

Albayalde said Antonio could either be suspended or dismissed from the service for directly violating the President’s order.

The NCRPO chief said they are continuously coordinating with security management of the casinos to monitor policemen and other government employees frequenting the establishments to gamble.

“We will be implementing zero tolerance on this matter because this is the order of the President. We have also deployed policemen to monitor,” said Albayalde.

The official said that among those in their monitoring lists are government officials in Metro Manila and some provinces who were seen playing inside some casinos.

OFFICIAL FROM DAVAO
Director Camilo Cascolan, head of the Directorate for Operations, said he personally know Antonio and vouched for his being a good and reliable officer.

“He is actually one of those who developed what we call patrol plan 2030 of Davao. He was then the head,” said Cascolan.

“I took him from Davao because he is a very good officer, he is very keen on details, he knows everything,” he added.

As a proof of being a smart officer, Cascolans said Antonio is the first among Class 2006 of the Philippine National Police Academy who was promoted to a rank of Superintendent, equivalent to Lieutenant Colonel in the military.

While investigation is being done to explain the seized R600,000 worth of casino chips from Antonio, Cascolan said the former is known to be living a modest life that it is not surprising that he could have saved that money.

LESSONS
But Cascolan said what happened to Antonio should serve as a lesson for other policemen to refrain from going to casinos as this could put their careers at risk.

“Let this serve as a reminder and warning to everybody that the leadership of the PNP will never tolerate especially with the directives of our President. At the same time, all unit leaders are strictly implementing what we call internal cleansing,” said Cascolan.

WAIVED RIGHT
While he acknowledges the right of every individual to play at the casinos, Albayalde said it is a different case if a person works for the government.

“As public servants, it is in our Code of Conduct, our Code of Ethics. It is a policy of our government that we are prohibited to gamble,” said Albayalde.

“If we cannot control ourselves, then we should go out of the government,” he added.

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