THE Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office urged the Philippine National Police to seriously crackdown against all forms of illegal gambling operations amidst persisting reports that jueteng lords continue to operate with impunity in defiance to President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 13.
PCSO general manager Alexander Balutan said jueteng continues to thrive in some areas where there are already Authorized Agent Corporations operating Small Town Lottery.
At the same time, PCSO Chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz has urged local chief executives to stop the operation of Meridien Vista Gaming Corp. that is allegedly being used as jueteng front.
“We are calling all mayors of cities and municipalities to withdraw or revoke the permits they issued for or in behalf of Meridien considering that PCSO-STL is the only legal numbers game in the country,” Corpuz said.
Meridien, a firm associated with businessman Charlie “Atong” Ang who claims to be just a consultant to the firm, was supposed to be operating only within the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority in Sta. Ana, Cagayan but its operations extend into several provinces and cities in Luzon and even in Visayas.
With full support from Malacanang, PCSO launched the expanded STL on Feb. 1 with 56 AACs that could generate up to P27 billion of revenues for the government’s charity services to buy free medicines for all and for strengthening of health programs.
Balutan said the estimated amount could tremendously increase once PCSO approves 37 more STL bidders this year.
He said the nationwide STL operation could also produce less than one million jobs for less privileged citizens who could not pass standard job fairs.
In his letter dated Jan. 24, 2017 sent to all provincial chiefs of the PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Balutan identified the AACs licensed to operate STL in their areas.
Balutan said that STL is an alternative to illegal numbers games operation that provides additional opportunities for employment.
“We are appealing for your full support for the success of the expansion of the STL operations and we trust that we can continue our good partnership,” Balutan said.
The PCSO and the PNP in late 2016 signed a memorandum of agreement, stating that the PNP is tasked to help combat illegal numbers games and prevent illegal gambling operations. The signing of EO 13 this month strengthens the PNP’s fight against all illegal gambling operations.
In fact, PNP chief General Ronald dela Rosa has vowed to eradicate all forms of illegal numbers game and protect the government-sponsored STL.
Dela Rosa also activated the “one strike policy” against police commanders who fails to stamp out illegal numbers game especially jueteng in their area.