15 gambling ‘cabos’ held in Laguna city

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CAMP PACIANO RIZAL, Laguna—Police on Friday filed charges against 15 gambling bet collectors following an anti-illegal gambling operation in San Pablo City, Laguna.

Laguna police director Senior Supt. Pascual Muñoz said the suspects were arrested in a joint operation by the San Pablo police and Laguna intelligence operatives in Barangay San Francisco at  3:45 p.m. on Thursday.

He said the police acted on an earlier report by residents that illegal bookies operated in the area.

In a text message, Muñoz identified the arrested suspects as Merlito Aragenes, Paul Nino Lagures, Mark Albert Dimayuga, Joshua Gomez, Alex Villaverde, Jossel Longino, John Robfrex Cabael, Norman Dalangin, Romeo Torino, Edwin Derapite, Onofre Belda, all from Tiaong, Quezon; and Diomedes Devera, Placido Adalia, Ivan dela Cruz and Rodel Castillo, from San Pablo City, Laguna.

Police also recovered P2,620 from the suspects.

Muñoz said the men claimed to be employees of Ramloid Gaming Corp. and were just about to remit the day’s collection to the operator of the Small Town Lottery  in Laguna when they were arrested.

The suspects, however, failed to show company-issued IDs and they were also not listed as legitimate employees of Ramloid based on records from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

If convicted, the suspects, detained at the San Pablo police station, could serve six to eight years in prison, if they acted as workers of illegal numbers game operators, or eight to 10 years if proven to be collectors, according to the law on illegal gambling.

Illegal gambling in Laguna persisted even after the death of suspected gambling lord Victor Siman, who was killed with 12 others at a checkpoint in Atimonan, Quezon, in January.

Investigators have concluded that the killing of Siman and his companions was a rubout. Policemen and soldiers who manned the checkpoint are now facing murder charges.

The operation against Siman was said to be part of an intelligence effort against organized criminal syndicates put together by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force.

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