Quezon cops brace for ‘jueteng’ return
LUCENA CITY—The Quezon provincial police is bracing for the resurgence of illegal gambling following President Rodrigo Duterte’s sudden order to stop all betting formats of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office because of corruption in the PCSO.
But Col. Audie Madrideo, Quezon police director, said the provincial police force was ready to crack down on illegal gambling, particularly ‘jueteng.’
“We expect the resurgence of illegal gambling particularly jueteng. But we’re ready to stop them,” Madrideo said in a phone interview.
He said he had already ordered the chiefs of police in 39 towns and two cities in the province to step up the campaign against illegal gambling.
He warned employees of PCSO betting outlets, who were rendered jobless by Duterte’s order, against sliding into illegal gambling.
“Being jobless is no excuse to commit crimes. Just like any other lawbreakers, we will also arrest them,” Madrideo said.
He also reminded policemen and officers of the Philippine National Police’s “strike one” policy which involved the sacking of police chiefs if their jurisdictions yield just one report of illegal gambling.
Bookies, or illegal Small Town Lottery (STL) operations, often maintain unauthorized lottery betting stations in remote areas to avoid the authorities and employ bet collectors who use legitimate lottery paraphernalia.
The bookies no longer conduct draws but just adopting the winning combination of the legal STL.
But with the suspension of the STL, the bookies’ operators are expected to return to jueteng and conduct their own draws.
Sources in the underworld gambling industry said jueteng operations may resume next week if the suspension of the government lottery will continue.
Sources in police intelligence said the illegal gambling operations were being protected by relatives of incumbent local government officials.
In some towns, it’s the local officials themselves who operate the bookies or jueteng, making the illegal game “untouchable,” said the police informant.
Quezon Gov. Danilo Suarez has urged Malacañang to immediately resolve the issue. Suarez described the STL as a valuable livelihood program for many, especially those in the provinces.
On Saturday (July 27) Quezon police closed 44 STL outlets and its draw center in Lucena City. Police also closed 91 lotto and 21 Keno outlets in different parts of the province.
Authorities also arrested one Noel Sollano, an STL bet collector, in General Nakar town for still collecting bets on Saturday morning despite the termination of the lottery. Delfin T. Mallari Jr./TSB
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