C. Luzon cops strike hard vs illegal gambling, 21 arrested

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Officers take their oath at the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame. (Reuters file)

PAMPANGA, Philippines – Central Luzon police authorities have shifted the focus of operations from illegal drugs to illegal gambling, arresting 21 persons in Pampanga and Bulacan areas in a fresh crackdown on the underground unlawful numbers game, a top official announced Wednesday.

“The government is losing more than P3 billion in terms of revenues due to … illegal gambling in the countryside and we are working hard to stamp out prohibited numbers game,” said Chief Supt. Amador Corpuz, director of the Police Regional Office 3 (PRO3).

Now that the mandate against illegal drugs was already in the hands of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Corpuz said the police has to concentrate on other crimes and illegal activities including gambling.

Recently, the Zambales PNP in coordination with the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) raided an illegal gambling den “Peryahan ng Bayan” at Barangay Pagasa, Olongapo City leading to the arrest of employees of Globaltech Mobile Online Corp, an unauthorized Small Town Lottery (STL) operator.

PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan said the CIDG-Zambales raided recently a draw court of the illegal “peryahan” on Gordon Avenue in Barangay Pagasa and arrested five employees of Globaltech Mobile Online Corp., the operator of the facility.

“We cannot thank CIDG-Zambales enough for moving promptly on the complaint of our Zambales branch manager Pierre Ferrer. Their efficiency is a big help in increasing the charity funds of the government,” Balutan said.

Globaltech was granted a one-year authorization to operate the Peryahan ng Bayan in 2014, but PCSO under Duterte’s administration terminated the deed of authorization (DOA) because of Globaltech’s continued and repeated refusal to remit the share of the government.

Corpuz identified those arrested in Bulacan and Pampanga as Jocelyn Manabat, 37, alias Madam Josie; Long Valencia, 33; both of Bgy. San Juan San Ildefonso, Bulacan. Marvin Villegas, 32; Analyn Tecson, 36, and Roland Gamboa, 61, all of San Miguel, Bulacan.

Others were Pablo dela Cruz, 43; Ernesto Caruyan, 35; Mario Estiller, 51; Romeo Laurente, 62; Reche Perez, 40; Jose Noel Umpig, 51, all Candaba, Pampanga. Aldrin Alarcon, 29; Ryan Parungao, 28; Emiliano Vergara, 59; Vicente Mananaquil, 49; Rodrigo de la Cruz, 55; Ricardo Gutierrez, 46; Alexander Bunag, 42; Wilson Gonzales, 41; Jerome de Asis, 34, all of San Ildefonso, Bulacan.

Seized from the suspects were illegal gambling paraphernalia, loose coins and bills in different denominations representing bet collections.

The suspects and confiscated items were brought to different police units in Bulacan and Pampanga where they are being processed before being sent to jail. Charges of violation of the Comprehensive Illegal Gambling Act are being readied against the suspects.

Corpuz said more arrests of illegal gambling personalities will follow.