ALTHOUGH the 2019 national and local balloting is still 21 months away, illegal gambling, like the drug menace, remains a major headache of the government in many parts of the country.
In the past, illegal gambling, notably “jueteng,” helped bankroll the political campaigns of some politicians, mostly local leaders, drawing the ire of various sectors of Philippine society.
With or without elections, however, illegal gambling continues to flourish in some parts of this supposedly only Christian country in this part of the world because of economic hard times.
That’s why Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director-General Ronald M. dela Rosa, a member of Class 1986 of the Philippine Military Academy, ordered a crackdown on illegal gambling.
Dela Rosa, a trusted lieutenant of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, gave his 18 regional directors 15 days to stamp out illegal gambling in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
In ordering all his regional directors to go all out against the gambling menace, the hard-hitting PNP top honcho vowed: “If they cannot stop them (illegal gamblers), I will relieve them.”
Some quarters said that it is really unfortunate that illegal numbers games syndicates operate under the cover of the government-authorized Small-Town Lottery (STL).
At the same time, Dela Rosa called on the country’s legitimate STL operators to police their own ranks.
Police officials have earlier reported the use of STL as a front for jueteng, admitting that some STL bet collectors are engaged in the illegal numbers games, which is commonly called “bookies” operation.
Bets in bookies operation yield higher winnings as compared to STL. Besides, illegal numbers game bet collectors earn more than the STL bet collectors, according to reports.
But the people, including the ordinary citizens, must support the PNP’s anti-gambling drive, otherwise, the country’s gambling lords will continue to victimize more Filipinos as the next election approaches.