Digos mayor says cops coddling illegal gambling financiersBy Orlando B. Dinoy
DIGOS CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines—Why has the illegal numbers game “Last Two” not been eradicated here despite the city government’s supposedly revitalized campaign against illegal gambling?
Mayor Joseph Peñas said in a recent interview he had his own suspicion, and that was that the police, particularly the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, had developed a close relationship with some illegal gambling financiers.
He said there had been reports that two suspected Last Two financiers were frequently seen in the company of CIDG operatives here. The two, identified only as Leo and Peter, were even seen taking part in recent anti-crime operations conducted by the CIDG, Peñas.
“They are publicly known as Last Two financiers in the city,” he said.
The illegal betting game is based on the last two digits of winning number combinations picked in the daily Lotto draws in Manila.
Senior Inspector Francis Sonza, CIDG Davao del Sur chief, admitted knowing the rumored financiers.
Without giving the full details of their identities, Sonza said they were members of the Community Investigative Support team, which is made up of civilian volunteers. But he denied knowing them as Last Two financiers.
“They want to help us and even spend their own money,” he said.
He described Leo as the “the over-all president of the CIS” in the province who owns burger outlets.
Sonza said the two CIS volunteers would be immediately removed from the group and charged criminally “if someone could present evidence” they were indeed illegal gambling financiers.
But unless there is solid evidence against the two CIS members, Sonza said, they will continue to work with the CIDG.
Juanito Morales, chairman of the city’s Association of Barangay Chairmen (ABC), said the CIDG has been very lukewarm about the revitalized anti-gambling campaign, which made him suspicious of the policemen’s dealings.
He would not elaborate on his suspicions but added that the two suspected financiers were regularly seen in the company of CIDG operatives.
Sonza said rumors that the policemen were making money by not arresting the alleged financiers were baseless.
As to why Last Two and other illegal gambling activities were at the bottom of the CIDG’s priorities, Sonza said the police’s biggest concerns were illegal firearms and wanted criminals.