CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II is not letting go of his campaign to stop the illegal numbers racket “jueteng” in Pampanga.
Although his monthlong ultimatum to the police had lapsed on Nov. 24, Roxas “continues to be gathering and strengthening his evidence to prove the operations of jueteng in the province,” his media relations officer, Babes Suva, said on Tuesday.
She said Roxas would require Senior Supt. R’win Pagkalinawan, Pampanga police chief, to report on the progress of the campaign.
But Pampanga Auxiliary Bishop Pablo Virgilio David wanted to give Roxas a reasonable time to make good on his promise.
“It is too soon to tell if the good secretary is serious about stopping jueteng. Let’s wait and see what moves he takes,” David said.
Roxas gave the ultimatum to Pagkalinawan while presiding over the Oct. 24 meeting of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) in Clark Freeport where governors and police directors in Central Luzon reported on their accomplishments and needs in fighting crime.
Roxas issued the order in front of Gov. Lilia Pineda, wife of suspected jueteng financier, Rodolfo “Bong” Pineda. The governor has not issued any statement on jueteng in her province. Her husband, in Senate hearings, had denied financing jueteng or investing on the Small Town Lottery (STL).
In the RPOC meeting, Chief. Supt. Edgardo Ladao, Central Luzon police director, denied the proliferation of jueteng in Pampanga or in six other provinces of the region.
But Roxas said his informants had managed to place bets on jueteng.
Pagkalinawan declined to comment on Tuesday when asked if the Pampanga police have accomplished Roxas’s order.
“Kapampangans can help Secretary Roxas by proving, first and foremost, that there is jueteng in Pampanga. I know it sounds ridiculous but how can he stop something whose existence the Philippine National Police itself denies?” David said.
“Something has to be done first to get the PNP out of their ‘state of denial.’ The truth will set you free, said Jesus,” he added.
Between Oct. 24 and Nov. 24, the STL, a government-sanctioned game designed to stop jueteng, was being played in Pampanga, based on the certifications of police chiefs in towns and cities, Ladao said.
On Nov. 7, Jose Ferdinand Rojas, general manager of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, held a closed-door meeting with STL agent-corporations.
Rojas told reporters that these agents were complying with STL rules and regulations.
Suncove Corp., STL agent in Pampanga, asked police to help stop “bookies” or illegal operations that use STL as front.
Eduardo Manugue, head of the Pampanga chapter of People Power Volunteers for Reforms, said he met with a Department of the Interior and Local Government representative to discuss his group’s proposal to help in the anti-jueteng drive. Manugue, however, declined to give details of the meeting. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon