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Legazpi’s former councilor lectures PNP on jueteng

By Manuel T. Ugalde


LEGAZPI City --- Borrowing the words from former President Duterte on the issue of jueteng, “jueteng cannot exist in a town if a police chief or a mayor would not allow it,” citing Davao when he was mayor for two decades, without jueteng. The phrase was among the few credits the former president used during his presidential campaign that catapulted him to the presidency.


In Albay, a provincial commander is remembered for dismantling the well-entrenched jueteng operation that even a village jueteng guerrilla operation failed to succeed during his stint.


Gov. Noel Rosal said he wants his province jueteng free, recalling the time of the said provincial commander when he was not yet involved in politics. Albay jueteng vanished a year before the May 9, 2022 elections and is returning back that he asked his provincial commander Col. Fernando Cunanan to get rid of it.


A retired police officer, speaking his name be withheld, cited the late Col. Ferdinand Lagman as the Albay provincial commander for three years from 1983 until the EDSA revolution in 1986, which Gov. Rosal is referring to. The late Col. Lagman even challenged resisting Albay politicians and the media to work for his relief saying he won’t allow jueteng under his watch. And he succeeded, said the source who admitted he was a young police officer of a small town who also benefitted from jueteng, and Albay province being the Bicol regional center having the highest reported jueteng collections in the region.


The source disclosed that Lagman did not even apply the one strike policy to relieve a police chief found to have jueteng in his jurisdiction. Intelligence report was enough.


Incumbent Bicol police regional commander Brigadier General Rudolf B. Dimas has a standing directive to his provincial directors to stop all forms of illegal numbers.


But former councilor Diego Obido of Legazpi City said in his regular daily morning radio program at Radio Station DWRL of Radio Philippines could not help without calling attention of the police why jueteng bet collectors visibly roaming around the city and government offices are not disturbed, while small time tupada in the barangays, card games, (tong-its) and cara y cruz are prominently reported in the media, as part of their accomplishments.


The city councilor who is also DWRL radio station manager, said jueteng operation in the province is getting stronger that as of October, it had shifted from two draws a day to three draws daily. He said that a few months before the last election, jueteng suddenly vanished only to resurrect under the new governor and Legazpi city mayor who are both vocal against the illegal numbers game. A local gaming firm found to be a front for jueteng have been denied renewal permit by the province.


Obido have been asking the public, especially the poor, to ignore jueteng because it is illegal and plain cheat, explaining that the gaming operator fronting for lotto and peryahan ng bayan, were taking advantage on the resources of the innocent poor who are wasting their Pantawid Pangkabuhayan Pilipino Program, euphemistically called the 4Ps. The illegal jueteng bet collectors, he said, were falsely claiming as lotto collectors for the three times daily draw even as we know that the legal PCSO lotto outlets have only one draw daily. Obido said that because of the open jueteng operation, many lotto outlets are not making money anymore, affecting tax remittance to the province.


Fellow broadcaster Noli Ferrer corroborated the former councilor ranting against the PNP, saying he had been reporting the illegal numbers game to Camp Crame. He asked fellow media men to support the province campaign against jueteng allegedly being operated by personalities from Pampanga.


Ferrer also lamented that jueteng operations no longer observes holiday since the Duterte administration. He said that before the Duterte administration, jueteng operations observed a force holiday for a day or two, whenever a Very Important Person (VIP) from the administration visits Bicol, citing the time of then PNP chief Panfilo Lacson and General Fred Lim, when he was NBI director. Anti gambling advocates explained that the observed holiday on jueteng takes place during a VIP visit to disguise that no jueteng exist in Bicol.


According to the retired police officer, Col. Lagman stint in Albay was shortened by the EDSA revolution in 1986. He said the Diocese of Legazpi was all praises for the late Col. Lagman’s sincere drive against jueteng, the illegal numbers game that sap the very resources of the poor, according to the church.


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