By Mark L. Garcia
Bacolod City — Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation simultaneously served search warrants to two “Peryahan ng Bayan” betting stations in the cities of Bacolod and Escalante Monday afternoon for alleged illegal operations in violation of R.A. 9287, or An Act Increasing the Penalties for Illegal Numbers Games.
NBI detained the 12 employees of the “peryahan” in Escalante, and also 10 employees from the betting outlet Bacolod City.
The NBI seized computers/computing machines, TV monitors, draw machines, routers and numbers games paraphernalia and closed the betting stations.
NBI Bacolod Chief Renoir Baldovino said they received the search warrants on May 3 issued by Executive Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert of the Regional Trial Court in Quezon City.
The employees will be released once they have paid their bail bond, Baldovino said.
“We will have to classify them because some are collectors, others are office staff, since there are different penalties depending on their liability,” he said.
Baldovino said the penalty for collectors ranges from eight to 10 years imprisonment, while those for office staff ranges from six to eight years. The liability of the owners of the betting outlets is being studied, he said.
He said the betting stations can no longer operate after their draw machines, equipment and numbers games paraphernalia were confiscated.
Baldovino said the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office terminated the Deed of Authority to Operate of Globaltech Mobile Online Corp., which operates Peryahan ng Bayan. Therefore, its operation is deemed unauthorized and illegal.
He explained that the Pasay City Court denied the petition for a preliminary injunction of Globaltech. They have no authority to operate after the PCSO terminated their Deed of Authority to Operate, he said.
Baldovino said retired Marine Maj. Manuel Fraginal, chief of the National Inter-Branch Security Monitoring of PCSO, was present as observer during the operation.
A barangay official was also present during the search. They also coordinated with the Bacolod City Police Office, he said.
Fraginal said he considers the operation of Peryahan Ng Bayan an economic sabotage since Small Time Lottery outlets pay billions of taxes to the government to provide financial, medical and educational assistance to the people.
He said it is the PCSO that can determine if a betting station is operating legally or illegally.
They are doing their job to eradicate the operation of the illegal numbers game as part of the program of the President, Fraginal said.