By Jelly Musico, PNA and U.S. News Agency / Asian
Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III said Saturday the Senate committee on games and amusement which he chairs may investigate reports some high-ranking National Police officials are on the payroll of jueteng operators.
“The charges and counter-charges raised in media by personalities said to belong to the police certainly merit a full-blown investigation if one considers the fair assumption that jueteng operators cannot continue with their illicit activities without powerful backers,” said Pimentel.
At least two PNP generals had been tagged as protectors of the illegal numbers game, with a certain Molly Acuña, said to be a civilian personnel of the PNP Intelligence Group, purportedly making the disclosure in emails sent to Camp Crame reporters.
Pimentel said his committee may invite the PNP officials whose names had cropped up in the controversy so they can issue statements on record and under oath.
He said jueteng, along with other forms of unregulated gambling, tears at the moral fabric of society and should be stopped.
During the committee hearing on constitutional amendments, revision of code and laws chaired by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, Pimentel expressed alarm over the apparent increase in gambling operations, both legal and illegal.
He said these should be looked into to determine their social and economic impact on the people.
“Jueteng, for example, targets the poor, especially those in the countryside. Bets placed in jueteng by members of families who live hand-to-mouth existences are money best used to buy food and other necessities. So, jueteng is really a pernicious problem which we must solved,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel reminded local government officials and the police of their duty to stop jueteng in their respective jurisdictions, stressing that jueteng would not prosper in any area if there is an honest-to-goodness effort by LGUs and the police to go after their operators.
While the Aquino administration has said stopping jueteng is not a priority, Pimentel said that authorities should move to stop jueteng being an illegal numbers game.