MANILA, Philippines—The brushed up campaign of the Philippine National Police against the illegal numbers game “jueteng” has so far collared close to 300 individuals.
And, as in the previous years, it failed to net the big fish.
Despite this, PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo Jr. said the police leadership believed that the reinvigorated operations against illegal gambling, dubbed “Oplan Bolilio,” were making a headway.
In a news briefing at Camp Crame, he said operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) had arrested a total of 277 jueteng bet collectors, bettors and “financiers” in 91 police operations nationwide since March 15.
He said CIDG agents also seized a total of P622,760 in bet money.
“With this number of arrested persons and confiscation of so much money, I can say the successful police operations had significantly affected the operations of illegal gambling syndicates,” Cerbo said.
“I would say that the operations led by the CIDG against illegal gambling had been very significant,” he continued.
Asked why the police had failed to arrest known jueteng personalities, Cerbo said: “You canot say that those arrested were just small fries.”
He pointed out that since most of those arrested were jueteng workers assigned to collect bets, the police had taken out the “critical elements” of the illegal gambling operations.
Told that the police had actually employed the same tactics in the past, the PNP spokesperson said the “strongly-worded instuctions” from Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima might just make the difference this time.
“We expect the ground commanders to double their efforts as compared to what have been accomplished. If guerilla operations existed before, I would expect that these would be eradicated so that once and for all, we can solve this problem on illegal gambling,” he said.
“The instruction of the PNP chief and Secretary Roxas is to conduct relentless and without let up anti-illegal gambling operations.”
But INQUIRER sources disclosed that jueteng draws were still being held thrice daily in most provinces in Luzon and some parts of Visayas and Mindanao.
In Laguna, a certain Totoy Haruta, Don Ramon and Leo Loyola had taken over the jueteng operations in the third and fourth districts of the province while a certain Tita Dinglasan and Rolando Bustria were known to be running the underground lottery in the first and second districts.
A certain “Reyes,” meanwhile, was said to be operating jueteng in Batangas province using the Small Town Lottery (STL) as front.
Tony Santos, on the other hand, was reportedly running the jueteng draws in Rizal province and some parts of Quezon City.
In Cavite, police source said jueteng workers were using the jai-alai operations of a certain “AA” to collect bets.