Laguna execs revive war on ‘jueteng’

The Philippine National Police (PNP’s) one-strike policy to stamp out “jueteng” prompted a renewed campaign by some local officials against all forms of illegal gambling in the province.

In Sta. Rosa City, Mayor Arlene Nazareno issued a directive to end all forms of gambling on Sept. 16. This was followed by the arrest of 35 persons, 18 of whom were charged in court, over alleged involvement in illegal gambling, reported Supt. Ismael Fernandez, city police chief.

The province-wide antigambling raids resulted in 134 arrests in the last two months, added Laguna police director Senior. Supt. Gilbert Cruz.

“Just last week, we have arrested 20 persons,” said Cruz.

He said these included jueteng kabo (area managers) and bet collectors for illegal bookies.

Underground bookies operate in the guise of the government-run Small Town Lottery (STL) with collectors using fake STL identification cards and lottery forms to escape arrests.

“The bettors were attracted to place their money on bookies instead of on the STL because the prizes were higher. For example, for bookies, the prize was P700, while for STL it was only P300,” a source said.

In some towns, such as San Pedro and Biñan City, it was learned that illegal bookies were operated by some people, who were the “right-hand men” of government officials.

Another source, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal, said the market shares from gambling operations in Laguna were subdivided as follows: 50 percent from jueteng; 25 percent, bookies; and 25 percent, STL.

Jueteng operations exist in the towns of Bay, Alaminos, Liliw, Sta. Cruz, Pagsanjan, Pila, Magdalena, Majayjay, Pakil, Rizal, Sta. Maria and in San Pablo City. Maricar Cinco, Inquirer Southern Luzon