Press Release
September 1, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today told the Philippine National Police to mount a no-nonsense crackdown on jueteng instead of looking for excuses for the continued proliferation of the outlawed numbers game.

Pimentel expressed chagrin over the statement of the PNP, made through spokesman Chief Superintendent Samuel Pagdilao, that the anti-jueteng drive may take a backseat because police forces have been directed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to be more active in the war against communist insurgency.

If that is the excuse, then the PNP is saying that the President is to blame for the laxity of their drive against jueteng. If the President is to blame, then, there is no solution until she is ousted from office or until she resigns, he said.

Pimentel said the resurgence of jueteng specially in Luzon, as admitted by PNP Director General Oscar Calderon, could be traced to the unholy alliance among gambling lords, police commanders and national/local government officials.

He said civilian officials and police commanders probably find it hard to resist the hefty protection money of the jueteng syndicates.

Its difficult to stop jueteng with the kind of money that is available to all who are willing to have their palms greased, Pimentel said.

The lone senator from Mindanao also decried the PNPs failure to implement Republic Act 9287, enacted in 2004, which imposes harsher punishment on (in the form of longer period of imprisonment and heavier fines) on people engaged in illegal gambling.

He said police officers pretend not to know about the existence of the Anti-Illegal Gambling Law of 2004 by still using an obsolete Marcos decree in filing criminal charges against people caught for illegal gambling.

Pimentel assailed the lack of initiative on the part of the PNP leadership to inform and educate police officers about the existence of RA 9287 and to issue a specific order directing them to enforce this new against illegal gambling.

This is ironic because before the enactment of RA 9287, police officers were always complaining about the alleged absence of a strong law that would give them the legal weapon to wage a sustained and effective offensive against jueteng.

Pimentel said the PNPs lackluster anti-jueteng drive only fans suspicion that the underground numbers game has bounced back with the tolerance of the national leadership.

He said this may be part of the concessions to local government officials who wanted jueteng to operate undisturbed in their areas to assure them of campaign funds for the 2007 elections in the form of gambling payoff. This tack had been used in the past to spare the national officials of the ruling party from being pestered with demands for campaign contributions from local officials.

Pimentel also said the small town lottery (STL) or jueteng is turning out to be a mere cover for the continued operation of jueteng in several provinces.

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