Pimentel indicates plan to probe laundering of ‘jueteng’ money in casinosBy Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Aquilino Pimentel III has expressed an intention to investigate the alleged use by of the country’s casinos for the laundering of billions of pesos earned by illegal gambling operators from the outlawed numbers game ‘jueteng.”
Pimentel, the chair of the Senate committee on games, amusement and sports, asked the Most Rev. Oscar Cruz, a retired Roman Catholic bishop and anti-illegal gambling advocate, to write him a letter detailing how casinos have become a tool for laundering jueteng money.
“Can you please write me a letter how this is done so I can confront the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. with this system going on,” Pimentel told Cruz at Friday’s hearing called by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago in connection with accusations against resigned Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno that he was receiving payola from jueteng lords. Puno denied the accusations.
Cruz said jueteng continues to thrive in the country and Santiago confronted Puno, the interior undersecretary in charge of peace and order for the past two years, why the multi-billion-peso racket continued to flourish.
“In my view, if we don’t need a law, maybe administratively or by regulation, Pagcor could be stricter in screening who could enter and play in their casinos. This way, we can already minimize the use of our legal casinos as a way of legitimizing jueteng money,” Pimentel told Cruz.
During the hearing, Cruz asked senators to look into how those who earn big money from jueteng use casinos to launder their billions. .
“We have information, and it looks fairly tenable, that jueteng money which is in the billions is made to go through the casinos for the semblance of legality,” Cruz told the senators.
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said casinos were not covered by the Anti-Money Laundering Act, unlike banks that are required to report to the Anti-Money Laundering Council any deposit or withdrawal of money amounting to P500,000.