PCSO urges PNP to probe jueteng resurgence in Naga
By Jason B. Neola
THE Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) here warned that criminal charges will be filed against any bet collector or kuryador who uses as bet slips the tickets intended only for the Small Town Lottery (STL).
The warning was issued by Jobet Z. Ramos, general manager of PCSO-Naga, as he reacted to the front page photo of the Bicol Mail’s November 17, 2022 release showing a STL slip bearing a 13-11 number combination. A number “2” and “11/7/22” were also written in the piece of paper, apparently the bet is good on the second draw of November 7, 2022.
When asked if it was for the STL, the PCSO-Naga official said that it was not, saying that the PCSO has stopped its operations in Naga City after the Branch 23 of the Regional Trial Court ordered the government agency and the STL franchisee in Camarines Sur – the Evenchance Gaming Corporation – to immediately cease and desist from continuing their STL operation in the City of Naga.
The court’s decision on the instant petition that seeks to enjoin the PCSO and the Evenchance from conducting STL operations in Naga City was released on August 13, 2020.
In its November 4, 2022 letter, the PCSO requested Police Col. Nelson Pacalso, NCPO city director, to conduct an investigation on the reported continuous proliferation of illegal numbers game in the city in the guise of the PCSO Small Town Lottery.
It said that the continuous operations of any form of illegal numbers game has a direct impact on the operations of Lotto and STL in the province consequently on the overall revenue generation of the government thru the PCSO.
PCSO’s monthly average collection or remittance from Lotto in Camarines Sur and Naga City reaches P16-M while STL, of which the operation is confined only in the province, is registering an average of P23-M monthly take.
A source said that with the given figures on STL in the province, one can determine how jueteng operations thrive in Naga where it can dupe several hundreds of bettors because of manipulated draws. Jueteng in the city has three draws in a day.
In an interview, City Councilor Ramon Melvin ‘Omar’ Buenafe, a former regional director of the Philippine National Police in the Bicol Region, said that both the STL and jueteng are prohibited in the city and that the police must stop their operations.
Ramos appealed to the public to provide him with the names of bet collectors passing off as sales agents of STL so that his office can execute appropriate actions that will lead to the filing of criminal charges against them.
With regard to those who are legitimate STL agents, Ramos said that they should be aware enough not to take bets inside Naga City due to the court order.
“They must be reminded that their area of operations are just within the Camarines Sur towns and Iriga City, excluding the City of Naga. STL agents who have been found taking bets in Naga City will face either dismissal or suspension,” he said.
The illegal numbers game operating in the city had resumed from almost a year of provisional break just several weeks after the May 2022 elections.
Ramos, however, said that the Naga City Police Office, under Pacalso’s supervision, has not been remiss in apprehending jueteng bet collectors as shown in its report forwarded to his office.