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NCRPO scores big vs illegal gambling

June 19, 2023 People's Tonight 163 views

60 STL ‘bookies’ fall

STEPPED-UP campaign against all forms of illegal gambling activities in Metro Manila by the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) last week led to the arrest of 60 persons involved in illegal “STL (small-town lottery) Bookies” activities, NCRPO director Major General Edgar Alan O. Okubo said on Monday.

The official said that the Manila Police District (MPD), headed by Brigadier Gen. Andre P. Dizon from June 12-18, conducted 32 successful anti-illegal gambling operations, which resulted in the arrest of 59 “STL Bookies” personalities.

Recovered from the suspects were P26,018 in cash bets. A total of 31 complaints for violation of the illegal gambling law were filed against the accused before the Manila City Prosecutor’s Office.

On the other hand, the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), headed by Brig. Gen. Nicolas D. Torre III last week arrested an STL bookie personnel in the city who yielded P250 in cash bet. The suspect was charged before the QC prosecutor’s office.

The NCRPO has intensified its campaign against illegal gambling in Metro Manila following a directive from Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Benjamin C. Acorda Jr., who has reiterated his strict “One-Strike, No-Take” policy on all forms of illegal number games in the country. The PNP is also getting support from the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) in eradicating illegal gambling activities in the country.

Okubo has been doing the rounds of different police stations in the metropolis to stress the PNP chief’s policy.

The NCRPO director has ordered a massive crackdown against “Video-Karera” machines in the metropolis after complaints that they are a favorite “pastime” of drug addicts and even schoolchildren.

Also being targeted by the NCRPO are various illegal number games and so-called “bookie” operations, as well as organized “sakla,” “cara y cruz,” “monte” and other similar illegal gambling activities being operated or protected by “rogues” from different sectors of the society.

Acorda last month imposed a strict “One-Strike, No-Take” policy on illegal gambling as he ordered an intensified crackdown against all illegal number games in the country to help the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) earn more government revenues needed to help support pro-poor programs.

The top cop has ordered a massive campaign against illegal gambling operators nationwide and maintained that their “One Strike and No Take Policy” represents a pivotal element in this comprehensive strategy which is also aimed at going after many organized illegal gambling syndicates known to be using PCSO-sanctioned Lotto and Small-Time Lottery or STL draws as a front for their yearly multi-billion business.

Acorda explained that these policies will ensure the strict enforcement of their Doctrine of Command Responsibility as this resolute stance reflects the PNP’s unwavering determination to eradicate illegal gambling and safeguard the welfare of the Filipino people.

The PNP chief has mobilized all established Regional/Provincial/City Anti-Illegal Gambling Special Operations Task Groups to intensify the implementation of the provisions outlined in the PNP Memorandum Circular No. 2017-022, otherwise known as the “PNP Anti-Illegal Gambling Campaign Plan: Operation High Roller.”

These specialized units will employ their expertise to gather intelligence, conduct thorough investigations, and execute strategic interventions, fortifying the nation’s fight against illegal gambling, said PNP Public Information Office chief Brig. Gen. Redrico A. Maranan.

“We will not tolerate the existence of illegal gambling activities that prey on the most vulnerable members of our society. Together with Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, we will deploy all necessary resources and implement stringent measures to put an end to this menace,” Acorda said.

According to the PNP chief, their “One-Strike and No-Take policy represents a zero-tolerance approach where any negligence or inaction will be met with swift consequences.”

“With this strong stance, the PNP aims to leave no room for leniency in eradicating the illegal gambling menace,” he said.

The top cop said all 17 Police Regional Directors, their Provincial Directors, the five Metro Manila Police District Directors, all City Directors, Chiefs of Police and Police-Community Precinct Commanders as well as the chiefs of the different PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s Regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Units and Criminal Investigation and Detection Teams will face relief if they will be found inefficient or wanting in their efforts to eradicate and stop illegal gambling in their respective areas of jurisdiction.

“They shall be relieved from their post and be charged administratively under the Doctrine of Command Responsibility. The applicability of the One-Strike Policy shall be reckoned one month after the assumption of the above-mentioned commanders/chiefs and directors,” Acorda said.

The PNP chief and PCSO General Manager Mel Robles met earlier to address the pervasive issue of illegal gambling. The two eventually agreed to become solid allies in the government’s intensified campaign against all forms of illegal gambling activities across the country.

Recognizing the detrimental impact of these illegal activities that erode public morals, Robles emphasized that illegal gambling operations significantly affect the revenue generated by the PCSO as the majority of earnings end up lining the pockets of illegal gambling operators.

“In turn, those losses deprive poor Filipino citizens of the healthcare and other benefits that the PCSO provides,” said Robles as he shed light on the grave consequences of unauthorized gambling activities on vulnerable communities.

The PCSO head also appealed to the public to participate only in PCSO-sanctioned games such as Lotto and Small-Town Lottery.

By doing so, not only can individuals stand a chance to win exciting prizes, but they can also actively contribute to the funding of the PCSO’s welfare programs, he said.

Many organized illegal gambling syndicates are known to be using Lotto and STL draws as a front for their yearly multi-billion business.