PNP vows to probe P50-M jueteng payoff to police officialsBy Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Monday that it would look into Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s claim that some unscrupulous police officials have been receiving about P50 million daily in jueteng payoffs.
“We have to address that issue as mentioned by Senator Lacson,” Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo Jr., the PNP spokesman, told reporters.
“Of course, we cannot ignore Senator Lacson’s knowledge on this issue given the fact that he is a former PNP chief. We also know that he has many sources about this issue,” he continued.
In a news conference at Camp Crame, Cerbo said the PNP would look into Lacson’s claim that a regional police director has been getting between P2 million and P3 million monthly from operators of the illegal numbers game.
The senator, who implemented a strict “no take policy” from jueteng operations during his stint as head of the 147,000-strong PNP, also disclosed that a provincial police director could be receiving as much as P1.5 million a month in protection money.
“We are investigating the reported involvement of police officers in jueteng. No one is exempted from this. If there is evidence to warrant an administrative case, then we will (file it),” he said.
“We will give due consideration to this in the light of the ongoing anti-illegal gambling campaign of the PNP.”
As to Lacson’s contention that the underground lottery would not proliferate without the support of the police, Cerbo said over 100 PNP personnel implicated in the operations of the underground numbers racket and other illegal activities had been dropped from its roll during the first half of 2012.
Cerbo, however, could not provide specific figures on the number of policemen who were axed for their involvement in jueteng.
“I cannot give you the exact numbers at this time, but the (figures) are very significant. They’re substantial,” he said.
He said “hundreds” more were suspended, reprimanded or admonished for committing serious offenses while others “forfeited their regular salaries.”
Cerbo said PNP Director General Nicanor Bartolome has ordered the relief of several local police chiefs for their failure to curb jueteng operations in their areas in compliance with the PNP’s “one-strike policy.”
Last June, then Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo relieved from their posts Chief Inspector Joseph Calonge Laureta of Alaminos, Laguna, Senior Inspector Allan Joy Medina Suratos of Alcala, Pangasinan and Senior Inspector Roger Manuel Digmayo of Santo Tomas, Pangasinan, for their failure to contain jueteng.
“In fact, hundreds of police personnel are being investigated every year base on the reports we’re receiving,” he said.
“This only proves that we are continually monitoring police personnel who are involved in illegal activities, including those involved in illegal gambling,” Cerbo said.
He said jueteng had persisted in much of Luzon because of several social and economic reasons. He said these factors had also made it difficult for the police to completely stamp out the vice.
Despite these difficulties, Cerbo said the PNP was hell-bent on eradicating jueteng. “We are not making any excuses. We are serious in doing our mandate to eradicate jueteng.”