Espino: It’s jai alai and mayors gave permits



DAGUPAN CITY—Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino, who was charged with plunder for alleged accepting payoffs from illegal gambling, has pointed to mayors in the province as the ones who transact directly with operators of jai alai, a numbers game that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima had said operated illegally outside Cagayan.

In a news conference a day after a plunder charge had been filed against him in the Office of the Ombudsman, Espino said it was the province’s mayors who allowed jai alai to operate in the province and dealt with Charlie “Atong” Ang, one of the personalities behind jai alai.

Espino, however, did not deny that he had met Ang, but said that he never received or demanded money from Ang, a former gambling buddy of pardoned plunder convict and ousted President Joseph Estrada.

“There was an issue in Manila about my meeting Mr. Charlie Ang,” said Espino in his press conference.

“Ang sought my permission to visit the mayors so he could apply for a business permit to operate jai alai gaming stations,” he said.

Espino added that Ang was introduced to him by Rodrigo Orduña, mayor of Bugallon town who turned whistle-blower against Espino and charged the governor with plunder at the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly receiving up to P900 million in “jueteng” payoffs.

Espino said it was the mayors who gave permits to jai alai, which police said operates like jueteng.

“The ones who issue permits are the mayors,” said Espino in his press conference during which he refused to take questions.

“Let me repeat that. I did not issue any permit to Mr. Charlie Ang. So, how can I ask anything from him?” the governor said.

Records at the province show that 45 of 48 mayors allow jai alai to operate in their towns or cities.

Senior Supt. Mariano Luis Verzosa, Pangasinan police chief, said police in the province cannot touch jai alai operations because “they are not illegal.”

But in July 2011, according to a report by the Inquirer, De Lima had declared jai alai operations outside Cagayan as illegal. In June 2011, the Court of Appeals issued an order that stopped jai alai operations for at least 60 days for being illegal.

Jai alai, operated by a firm called Meridian Vista Gaming Corp., has its headquarters at  Cagayan Special Economic Zone (CSEZ), where it holds jai alai games. It has established betting stations, however, outside CSEZ which De Lima had questioned.

Noel Nacar, mayor of Dasol town and head of Pangasinan’s League of Municipalities, confirmed that the mayors allowed jai alai to operate.

Verzosa, the Pangasinan police chief, said jai alai is played like jueteng and had a key role in uprooting jueteng from Pangasinan.

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  • Fred

    No amount of reasoning or justification can save the political career of Gov Espino.
    Tough luck!

    • Loggnat

       They should make an example of Espino and send him to jail to drive the point to all corrupt officials that if you get caught, you are spending time behind bars in your orange uniform..^-^

  • Your_King

    When the sh*t hits the fan, start pointing fingers and blaming others. Its the Philippine way!

  • Jimmy

    Yang si Versoza eh kasama ni Espino sa jueteng collection ay papaano kokontra yan kay Espino eh nagkakakwarta rin siya..!!! Governors, police at mayors ay magkakasama yan sa kawalanghyaan..!! O hindi ba…???? Kayo naman… para kayong bago ng bago sa takbo ng kurakot ng pulis at politiko..!!!  Subukin ninyong gawing non-bailable ang mahuling kolektor ng jueteng at 5 taong pagkabilanggo ang kolektor pag nahuli sa akto at tiyak na matitigil ang hinayupak na juetengg….!!!!!!

  • concern_filipino

    LOL. Very funny. Pag buking, put the blame on someone else. What a shame! Every time you open your mouth, there goes the clues that you are aware and part of the illegal gambling in the province. Mga mayors ang nagbibigay nang permits? At mga mayors na ayaw magbigay, nagiging masama sa iyo, ha Governor? All I can say, bilang na ang mga araw na pagnanakaw mo governor. NOBODY IS ABOVE THE LAW.

  • sidewalkbenhur

    heto na naman tayo turuan na naman , siya ito , siya iyon,noong sila ay humahakot nang pera walang takot sa mundo ngayon na bisto ala hindi daw siya tsk…..tsk…mga hunghang magbago na kayo ,malapit nang dumating ang huhusga sa inyo!!!!!

  • VicenteBoticol

    Gov Espino will surely follow CJ Corona,Ombudsman Gutierez,Comelec Abalos,LWWUA Pichay,PAGCOR Genuino,PCSO Morato and GSIS Garcia…….mga magnanakaw lahat !

  • blainz

    The tired old palusot and finger-pointing game. Suspend Espino already!

    Might as well give St. Luke’s advance notice that another wheelchaired patient is coming up, after all, that’s where these processions usually end.

  • kabayandinako

    This Espino must be investigated thoroughly. They just called huweteng as jai-alai. Actually, Jai alai is a fronton game with proper game arena to be staged. The jai-alai they are playing in Pangasinan is illegal in all sense and as the Governor, he must have the go signal to do it. Magaling talaga mag alibi at mag palusot ang mga matatakaw. Long live your PMA alma mater for making you and some of your “MAGAN” alumni very rich.

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