Cops told to stamp out illegal gambling in Cagayan Valley

CAMP ADDURU, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan—The top police official in Cagayan Valley on Thursday ordered all local police offices in five provinces here to stamp out all forms of illegal gambling until Aug. 9, or face immediate relief.

Chief Supt. Robert Quenery, Cagayan Valley police chief, also warned operators of Small Town Lottery (STL) in the region to strictly comply with the terms of their gambling permit, as local officials have expressed doubts over the legitimacy of their operations.

“Those [whose performance] are found to be wanting will definitely face sanctions. [Stopping illegal gambling operations will] give chance to the authorized [STL] agents to have a smooth flow in the conduct of their operations,” he said.

Quenery issued the warning behind the directive of Dir. Gen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, Philippine National Police chief, which gave regional police chiefs until Aug. 15 to stop illegal gambling in their areas.

Dela Rosa issued the ultimatum following reports of unabated illegal numbers game activities similar to “jueteng” in various areas, which were supposedly being carried out in the guise of STL. 

These were supposedly perpetrated either by former “jueteng” operators, and some “enterprising” local officials, such as the reported recent activities in Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, and Santiago City.

Police sources said the STL franchises have been issued to a group of businessmen who are in partnership with some retired police officials. They had taken over what used to be illegal “jueteng” operations, using the same gambling scheme and employing the same sets of workers.

On Tuesday, the police official summoned managers of four STL licensees covering Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Santiago City, and assured them the PNP’s intensified drive against illegal gambling.

The meeting preceeded Quenery’s conference with his provincial and city police directors where he issued his Aug. 9 ultimatum.

“(The STL operators) reported that collection is not as good as they had anticipated, since they had barely started, but that it is also starting to pick up pace. They are hopeful it could get better in the coming days,” Quenery said.

Operators should stick to the guidelines of their license in order to remain as legitimate gambling franchises. Any deviation would render them illegal, the police official said.

Records showed that STL franchises were granted to Charity Games of Chance in Cagayan, Sahara Games and Amusement Phil. Corp. in Isabela, King 810 Gaming Corp. in Nueva Vizcaya and Fair Ways Management and Gaming Corp. in Santiago City.

“And since no STL permits have yet been issued in Quirino, any numbers game activity there is illegal gambling,” Quenery said.

For his part, Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba said STL operators should be truthful in declaring their revenues to the government.

“So far, what we have been seeing is how these STL licensees are cheating the government by under-declaring their income. It’s becoming pure farce,” he said.#

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