PNP chief urged to make jueteng campaign his legacy
- Jess Diaz () - September 13, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Two congressmen yesterday urged Philippine National Police chief Deputy Director General Nicanor Bartolome to make his campaign against jueteng and other forms of illegal gambling his legacy.

“This is a big challenge and his one-strike policy against illegal numbers games will spell the difference in his watch as PNP chief,” Rep. Sherwin Tugna of the party-list group Citizens Battle Against Corruption said.

He said the new PNP chief should make his anti-jueteng campaign a top priority “because it breeds corruption within the force.”

“If we eliminate jueteng, we will effectively purge corruption in the PNP, and that would be the biggest win that Bartolome can claim,” he said.

“Fighting jueteng is fighting moneyed syndicates. Bartolome has specified a measurable goal. He will be judged by the very words of challenge he issued,” he added.

Tugna urged all sectors, especially PNP personnel and local government officials, to help the new PNP chief eradicate illegal gambling.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone agreed that Bartolome could leave a distinct legacy if he succeeds in his anti-jueteng campaign.

“Illegal gambling has flourished again and is very rampant nationwide. It destroys the moral fiber of our society. It encourages laziness and promotes a wrong virtue of relying on good luck. We must stamp out all forms of illegal gambling,” he said.

He said Bartolome would be effective in fighting illegal gambling “if he keeps his nose clean.”

He said if the new PNP chief makes good his promise to punish municipal, city, provincial, and regional police commanders where there is illegal gambling in their areas, no policeman would have the courage to take money from jueteng lords or protect them.

Evardone, a former governor of his province, pointed out that illegal gambling operators cannot operate in a town, city or province without the collusion of the police commander and the mayor or governor.

Harvey Keh, a convenor of the Kaya Natin Movement, said Bartolome should follow the example of then PNP chief and now Sen. Panfilo Lacson in eradicating jueteng.

He said Lacson did not take jueteng money and punished PNP officers and personnel who received payola from gambling operators.

Keh said Bartolome should restore public trust in the PNP as Lacson did during his time.

Illegal gambling operators are believed to be a major source of slush funds and illicit income for police commanders, from the town level up to the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, and for other officials.

Local Government Undersecretary Rico Puno, who supervises the PNP, has been accused of taking money from jueteng, an accusation that he denied.

He admitted though that emissaries of suspected big-time jueteng lord Rodolfo “Bong” Pineda of Lubao, Pampanga wanted to meet with him shortly after President Aquino appointed him.

According to residents of Pampanga, jueteng has not stopped in their province. In most areas, they said jueteng lotteries are conducted three times a day.

Pineda’s wife Lilia is governor of the province.                                                                    

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