‘Jueteng’ take P50M daily, says LacsonBy Cathy Yamsuan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The daily take from “jueteng” has reached P50 million, Senator Panfilo Lacson on Sunday said.
Lacson said a regional director of the Philippine National Police, who protects operators of the illegal numbers racket, could receive between P2 million and P3 million a month, while a PNP provincial director could get between P500,000 and P1.5 million a month.
Lacson, a former PNP chief, volunteered these figures in a radio interview.
Because jueteng operators would sometimes buy franchises of the government-backed Small Town Lottery (STL), their collectors would even brandish IDs identifying themselves as legitimate STL collectors to avoid arrest.
In some cases, it is the arresting officer who is charged in court with harassing suspected jueteng employees, Lacson lamented.
The senator proposed that the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) should charge a P100-million bond from STL operators so it could confiscate the amount once proven that they are using the STL as a front.
This would also discourage the use of legal franchises to mask illegal activities, he said.
Lacson made the suggestion following Senator Aquilino Pimentel III’s plan to reopen the Senate investigation of jueteng, prompted by a disclosure made by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago that resigned Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno’s involvement in the illegal numbers racket was supported by a powerful backer with links to Malacañang.
As it is, Lacson said jueteng operators were using the STL as a front and were turning over only 20 percent of proceeds to the PCSO.
“Jueteng will not flourish if it does not enjoy the protection of the police,” he said.
Lacson, however, said the PNP should not be faulted for not making the crackdown on jueteng a priority.
“I said the same thing (when I was PNP chief) because there are other issues that need to be prioritized, like the crime rate. Combating jueteng will use a lot of time. The bottom line is not to compromise with its operators,” he said.
President Benigno Aquino has drawn flak for saying that the fight against jueteng is not his administration’s priority.
Lacson said the President need not issue another pronouncement for officials to realize that jueteng should be controlled.