Freeman Region

Negros Occidental gambling financiers lying low

Gilbert P. Bayoran - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The warning of an all-out war against illegal gambling in Negros Occidental may have been too much for some financiers of Small Town Lottery “bookies,” who have temporarily halted their operations.

This was confirmed by Senior Superintendent William Señoron, director of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOCPPO), after receiving reports that financiers of illegal gambling have temporarily gone inactive.

Señoron said NOCPPO already has a list of suspected financiers of illegal gambling, and are now monitoring them.

The initial start of the anti-illegal gambling campaign was marred by confusion as the police and operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in cities of Kabankalan and San Carlos in Negros Occidental, arrested individuals engaged in legitimate operations of the STL.

But Señoron said the confusion was already addressed by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office that manages the STL operations nationwide. “Bookie collectors also wear identification cards from the STL and have two notebooks, one for the bookies, and one for the STL of the PCSO, initial police investigations showed.

Investigators further bared that some financiers of illegal gambling have been riding on the STL operations to legitimize their illegal activities.

While he is not giving a quota for police chiefs on how many they will arrest in a certain period, Señoron said each of them has to certify that their respective areas are illegal gambling-free, and this will be subject to validation.

Señoron also reminded them of the “one-strike policy,” which remains in effect. Once an outside unit successfully initiates anti-gambling raids in a town or city, it may lead to the relief of the police chief in that particular area, the PNP memorandum states.

The NOCPPO has activated its Special Law Enforcement Unit, in lieu of the disbandment of its Provincial Anti-Illegal Drugs Unit, following an order for them to intensify their campaign against illegal gambling. Señoron said the campaign will cover all forms of illegal numbers games.

While the financiers of illegal gambling may have temporarily gone inactive, he said they will not be lax in their operations, as Señoron expected them to resume their illegal activities, if the police lower their guard.

Chief Supt. Renato Gumban, director of the Police Regional Office-Region 18 (Negros Island Region), ordered NIR police chiefs to arrest all operators and personnel who engage in illegal gambling, and to utilize all their available manpower, logistics and equipment for the arrest of gambling lords and operators, as well as ambulant bet collectors. (FREEMAN)

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