By Aaron Recuenco
The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) has intensified the campaign against illegal gambling over a possibility that illegal numbers game would resurface with the suspension of operations of some licensed games of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
On Saturday, police confirmed the resurgence of illegal numbers game with the arrest of a bet supervisor and 10 bet collectors for the so-called “loteng” in a series of raids in four areas in Metro Manila.
NCRPO director Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said they immediately intensified the intelligence-gathering after President Duterte suspended all the PCSO-licensed games over reports of massive corruption in the agency.
A few days later, lotto operations were allowed to operate except for Small-Town Lottery (STL), which is an open secret among the police force that it is being used as a front of jueteng.
“Based on the intelligence reports, our Regional Special Operations Unit immediately conducted various raids on confirmed gambling dens and these resulted in arrests and confiscation of gambling paraphernalia,” said Eleazar.
With STL operations still suspended, jueteng operators are using the draw results for EZ2, a PCSO-licensed game which was among those which was allowed to operate anew and other lotto games such as 6/42.
In three separate operations conducted in Paranaque City, arrested were Francisco Buno, Alfredo Combalacer, Criselda dela Cruz, Joselito de Pablo and Amado de Pablo.
Police also arrested a certain Arthur Flores for allegedly trying to block the police during a raid along Bagumbuhay Street in Baclaran, Paranaque City.
In Quezon City, nabbed was Analyn Esquillo while Erlinda San Jose and Jean Bernal were collared in Las Pinas City raid.
In Barangay Santolan in Pasig City, police also arrested Carmelita Dioneda, Orbe Ulijan and Arlin Santos.
Seized were gambling paraphernalia, bet money amounting to more or less P5,000 and bet cards for EZ2 and 6/42 which will be used in the filing of charges in connection with illegal gambling.
A separate case of obstruction of justice and direct assault on persons in authority will be charged against Flores for trying to block the raiding cops.
Eleazar said investigation is now being conducted to identify the operators and bet supervisors.
The NCRPO chief said the raids should serve as a warning against bettors and operators of illegal numbers game in Metro Manila, saying the arrest and filing of charges are proof that they are serious in running after all forms of illegal gambling.
“People should refrain from operating illegal gambling as they will be meted with the corresponding charges and penalties under the law,” said Eleazar.
“Our campaign against illegal gambling will continue to crack down on syndicates who operate all forms of illegal numbers game in the region along with their and protectors,” he added.