By: Jennifer P. Rendon
WHEN Police Colonel Roland Vilela assumed the top post at the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO), his priorities were clear.
Illegal drugs and internal cleansing efforts will go hand in hand, as police exercise their mandate of promoting peace and order in the province.
While illegal gambling would still be a consideration, it would not be his main focus.
But less than two weeks into his assumption, Vilela appears to have a change of heart.
This, following reports that illegal gambling operators have been using his name in their activities.
Vilela admitted that they did not go hard against illegal gambling.
Instead, he told chiefs of police to exercise their discretion on their campaign against illegal gambling.
“But to use my name and say that I allowed them to operate or it has my blessing, that’s an outright lie,” he said.
Because of this development, Vilela has ordered all chiefs of police to act on illegal gambling activities on their turf.
He also issued a stern warning to his chiefs of police to arrest illegal gambling operators, or they will face administrative charges for dereliction of duty.
The renewed campaign to free the province from illegal gambling also came in the heels of information that some bookies financiers plan to resurrect their operation with the resumption of Small Town Lottery (STL) operations in the Guimaras province.
“We must be relentless in ensuring that they (illegal gambling operators) will not penetrate Iloilo province,” Vilela said.
And for illegal gambling operators, “Sorry but you are not welcome here. Don’t try me. I will not play your game,” he said.
For the purpose, Vilela said they would observe the one-strike policy.
“Any chief of police who won’t comply with the directive will be relieved and administratively charged,” he said.
It was gathered that Red Subay Gaming Corp., the sole Authorized Agent Corporation (AAC) of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) in Iloilo province, has yet to resurrect its operation.
The firm, which has a P111 million presumptive monthly retail receipts (PMMR) or an average of P3.7 million PMRR sales a day, has yet to pay its shortfall of P253 million with the PCSO as of June 2019.
On top of that, they need to comply with the conditions set to resume their operation.