Press Release
July 8, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today challenged newly-installed Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Calderon to spell out his strategy to wipe out jueteng and other forms of illegal gambling, which is a major cause of corruption among law enforcers.

Noting Calderons promise to step up the campaign against jueteng as one of his commitments, Pimentel said the new PNP chiefs disclosure of such strategy will somehow dispel the public skepticism about his sincerity and determination to fulfill this objective.

He said the anti-jueteng drive under Calderons immediate predecessor, former PNP chief Arturo Lomibao, at first went smoothly, with various regions in Luzon being declared as free of the underground numbers game.

However, Pimentel said that the anti-jueteng drive lost steam specially since the start of the year, with the outlawed numbers game staging a strong comeback all over Luzon.

Jueteng operations have resumed with impunity in the traditional gambling areas in Luzon, obviously with the tolerance of the police commanders and local chief executives, he said.

The minority leader said the failure on the part of Director General Calderon to enforce the law against jueteng will only reinforce the suspicion that its operation has the nod of Malacañang as a concession to local government officials who rely on the protection money or intelligencia from gambling lords to generate campaign funds for the 2007 elections.

How many times has the public been assured by Palace officials and law enforcement authorities that there is no let-up in the crackdown on jueteng? But in reality, jueteng operations are going on without fear of being interrupted or stopped by the police because of the administrations farcical policy on illegal gambling, Pimentel said.

He said even Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn, the administrations anti-jueteng czar, directly blamed the PNP for collapse of the anti-gambling campaign, while a frustrated Isabela Governor Grace Padaca has minced no words in accusing the police commander in his province of coddling jueteng lords.

Pimentel observed that ironically jueteng bounced back at the same time that the government, through the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, launched the small town lottery which was supposedly intended to be the legal alternative to jueteng.

He said the strange coincidence has fanned the allegation that STL was meant to be a legal cover for jueteng in order to spare illegal gambling operators from arrest and prosecution by law enforcers.

Pimentel said the PNP could not make the supposed lack of manpower as an excuse for neglecting the anti-jueteng drive. He said if the PNP is really undermanned, then it would not have been given an expanded role in the reinvigorated campaign against communist insurgency.

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