‘War on gambling’ starts with small fry
A day after the Philippine National Police chief, Director General Rolando dela Rosa, announced a war on illegal gambling, arrests were made in the neighboring cities of Malabon and Valenzuela.
Instead of busting bigtime gambling operators, however, the war’s opening salvo settled for small fry. Eduardo Masagcay, an alleged kubrador or bet collector, was arrested in Malabon, while pedicab driver Daniel Reyes was arrested in Valenzuela for playing tong-its, a card game he was caught playing on the street.
Chief Supt. Roberto Fajardo, the director of Northern Police District, said the arrests were in line with Dela Rosa’s declaration. “The war on gambling has always been there. But since that’s the order, we will focus our efforts there,” Fajardo told the Inquirer on Wednesday.
Fajardo said the police were still awaiting the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 13. The EO directed law enforcement agencies, freeport authorities and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. to intensify the campaign against illegal gambling.
‘Raids, raids, raids’
Fajardo said the NPD would obey the EO through “raids, raids, raids.” But he said the police would need the public’s help in pinpointing targets “while we’re waiting for the IRR.”
Reyes was arrested on Navarette Street, Barangay Arkong Bato, about 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 13 by PO1 Noel Caspe of Valenzuela police. A report by the officer in charge, Supt. Freddie Tejano, said Caspe “chanced upon” Reyes and his two female companions “in the act of playing illegal cards” called tong-its.
This game, the report added, is prohibited under Presidential Decree No. 1602 issued by then President Ferdinand Marcos in July 1978.
The same presidential decree was allegedly violated by Masagcay, who was described in a report by Senior Supt. John Chua, the Malabon police chief, as a kubrador for “bookies karera,” which is based on horse racing results.
Masagcay was “taking a bet” from an unidentified man when a team composed of SPO1 Damian Matalang, PO2 Francis Camuna and PO1 Ricky Lamsen arrested him on Sulucan Street in Barangay Hulong Duhat about 8:20 p.m. on Feb. 14.