RETIRED Catholic prelate Oscar Cruz urged the Duterte administration on Thursday to investigate supposed links between large-scale gambling operators and other crimes, such as kidnappings, drug pushing and armed robbery.
Cruz, archbishop emeritus of Lingayen-Dagupan, said there are connections between illegal drug pushing and gambling operators, saying gamblers need money and to finance their addiction to gambling is selling illegal drugs.
“There are illegal drug searches in practically any neighborhood. Why not try looking for verifiable illegal drug connections among inveterate gamblers and illegal drug providers?” the prelate said.
A known anti-gambling crusader, Cruz reiterated the call on the authorities to look into the possible links of people with severe gambling problems to the illegal drug trade.
Cruz, founder of the Krusadang Bayan Laban sa Jueteng, hinted at the possibility that pathological gamblers always need money to finance their “unquenchable gambling addiction.”
“Politicians and gangsters, professionals and hoodlums, businessmen and cheats—there are known pairings of such individuals for mutual benefits,” he said.
“Why not pathological gamblers and illegal drug promoters whereby the former sell what the latter have to offer? There are illegal drug connections among public officials and police officers,” Cruz said.
According to him, the illegal drug trade and pathological gambling have one thing in common: their prime motor is the quest for money.
Catholic bishops have repeatedly voiced alarm over the spread of government-sanctioned gambling through casinos.
Aside from the many families that have been wrecked because of casinos, they said large-scale gambling has also been linked to organized crime.
“Yet, they continue to thrive, government sanctions them and their operators and owners continue to enrich themselves,” the bishops said in a statement.
“We are alarmed at the seeming lukewarmness on the part of government and civil society in dealing with these forms of high-stakes, high-risk gambling,” it said.