Illegal numbers game in Mindanao harder to crush as operators go ‘hi-tech’
DIGOS CITY, Philippines–The illegal numbers game “Last Two” digits, which has replaced “jueteng” in many Mindanao areas, is becoming more difficult to combat these days as its operators have gone hi-tech, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group here, claimed.
Senior Inspector Francis Sonza, CIDG director for Davao del Sur, issued the statement when asked why there had been less apprehension of those involved in the illegal numbers game the past months.
If an arrest was ever made, it only involved bet collectors and none of the so-called financiers or their coordinators (bagmen).
Sonza said financiers of Last Two have learned to adapt to the times and were now using technology to avoid detection and arrest.
While pen and paper were the most common tools employed by Last Two operators to keep track of numbers taken by bettors, these days they use Facebook’s chat client or web-based e-mail services and cellphone text messaging to do that, he said.
Because there is no paper trail, it is also more difficult to just arrest any suspected bet collector, Sonza said.
He said Last Two operators have also learned lessons from the arrest of some financiers in the past and this is to avoid keeping paper records of the bets they received.
“They also now use bank to bank transactions or remittance services in receiving bets from their people on the ground,” Sonza said.
He said another difficulty the police face in tracking down operators is that arrested bet collectors were mum about their patrons.
“The financiers cannot be identified and sued because they won’t tell us who they are,” Sonza said.
He said there appears to be some sort of a code being imposed by financiers on their bet collectors and that is to be silent and get rescued when arrested.
Sonza said arrested bet collectors are immediately able to post bail of P80,000 each and the police knew the money came from the financiers.
But there is no way to prove that in court, he said.
“A suspected financier could not be sued based on that,” he said.
Last Two is based on the result of the Lotto. A P1 bet can win up to P75, depending on who the financier is.