Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas on Tuesday directed the new Philippine National Police chief to “strike hard” against “jueteng” in the wake of the revelations made by a Pangasinan town mayor about the involvement of government and police officials in the illegal numbers game.
In a statement, Roxas said he had ordered PNP Deputy Director General Alan Purisima to go after jueteng operators and protectors “who are raking in billions of pesos in illicit earnings.”
“My marching orders are clear: Go against the operators and protectors regardless of their positions and party affiliations. Identify and charge them in court and make sure the cases are airtight and can withstand judicial scrutiny,” Roxas said.
“I have instructed…Purisima to revise the PNP’s Secure and Fair Elections (Safe) 2013 operations plan to include a no-nonsense campaign against jueteng,” he added.
Roxas said he feared the illicit money generated by the underground lottery would “fill the war chests of warlord politicians in many towns and provinces around the country.”
He noted that a number of jueteng lords had become political warlords “who could thwart the people’s true will in the May 2013 elections.”
“I have full trust and confidence the new PNP chief will pursue these jueteng lords until they are all in jail,” he said.
Roxas dismissed allegations made by the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) coalition that the government’s renewed campaign against jueteng was “politically motivated.”
‘Just doing our job’
“We are just doing our job in running after jueteng operators. We will pursue this, whoever will be affected, regardless of their political affiliations,” Roxas said.
The insinuations by UNA, he said, was “tantamount to obstructing” the investigation of Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino Jr., who was tagged by his erstwhile political ally and confessed bagman, Bugallon Mayor Rodrigo Orduña, as the operator and protector of jueteng in his province.
Espino, of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, is seeking a third and last gubernatorial term under the UNA banner against Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza, a member of the Liberal Party of President Aquino and Roxas.
“I have a feeling that UNA doesn’t want us to proceed with our campaign against jueteng,” Roxas said.
“But we have no choice because it is my duty as secretary of the interior and local government to look into allegations of illegal gambling, particularly if they involve local government executives and police officials,” he said.