By: Jennifer P. Rendon
SIX anti-illegal gambling operations were launched hours after the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) declared a crackdown on bookies activities or illegal numbers games.
In less than three hours, the operations led to the arrest of five persons who are all Small Town Lottery (STL) bet collectors.
The series of arrests started at 5:00 p.m. of Sept. 16, 2019, with the arrest of Trixy Lingaya in Barangay Imbang Grande.
Fifteen minutes later, another operation was conducted at Barangay Poblacion, San Enrique.
Also, two STL bet collectors were arrested at 5:40 p.m. in two other towns.
Alex Aglibao was collared in Barangay Padios, Sara town while Karen Mar Barranco was nabbed in Barangay Poblacion South, Oton.
At 5:55 p.m., another operation was done in Poblacion South village in Oton that led to the arrest of Ma. Fatima Valencia.
At 6 p.m., members of Janiuay Police Station also launched an operation at Barangay San Julian.
But the motorcycle-riding suspect evaded arrest.
“Still, we will file a case against him,” said Police Captain Dadje Delima, Janiuay Police Station.
Pavia Police Station nabbed Loreto Jagonase, 53, at Barangay Ungka II, Pavia, Iloilo at around 7:30 p.m.
In the coming days, though, Police Colonel Roland Vilela, Iloilo police chief, doesn’t expect more arrests as far as bookies operations are concerned.
“I’ve heard they have stopped their activities since we’ve issued a warning against bookies operators,” he said.
But Vilela said he’s not sure how long this will go on.
“For sure, once they’re back, we’ll strike them again,” he said.
Vilela again said that illegal gambling was not his priority when he assumed post.
“There are other criminalities that need to be addressed, that need our focus,” he said.
But Iloilo’s top cop apparently went ballistic after he received information that some operators used his name in their illegal activities.
This prompted Vilela to order chiefs of police to go hard against illegal gambling.
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 STL operations in the Guimaras province.
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 resume 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.
Meanwhile, Vilela is not also discounting the possibility that crimes against property might rise once illegal gambling operations are totally curtailed.
“And it’s something what we are also preparing (for),” he said.