Gov orders police to shut down STL in Albay


By Ephraim Aguilar
Southern Luzon Bureau
First Posted 00:46:00 08/22/2008

LEGAZPI CITY – Albay Gov. Joey Salceda wants the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) to halt small-town lottery (STL) operations in the province following allegations it is being used as a cover for the illegal numbers game “jueteng.”

In a statement, Salceda said he instructed Senior Supt. Joel Baloro, Albay police director, to immediately convey to the PCSO his directive to shut down STL operations in the province.

Salceda also cited persistent media reports about the alleged underdeclaration of STL bet collections.

Baloro, in a mobile phone interview, confirmed having received a directive from Salceda but claimed no knowledge of the reasons behind it.

However, he said he believed it had something to do with the attacks made by antigambling witness Sandra Cam against four Bicol governors last week, which got published in some tabloids.

Cam accused Salceda and three other Bicol governors – Sally Lee of Sorsogon, Jesus Typoco Jr. of Camarines Norte and Luis Raymund Villafuerte of Camarines Sur – of being responsible for the revival of jueteng in the region.

She also said these governors were being protected by “high-ranking officials of the Philippine National Police and the Department of Interior and Local Government.”

She said other politicians were banking on jueteng money to fund their campaign in the 2010 elections.

‘Guerrilla-type’

Salceda did not address Cam’s accusation in the statement and refused to grant further interviews.

Baloro denied the existence of organized jueteng in Albay but said there could be “guerrilla-type” operations in remote villages, where people think they could not be monitored by authorities.

He added that they were validating reports that STL operations were being used as a front for jueteng.

“There are reports of ‘bookies,’ a scheme where bets below P10 are not being remitted to STL and are instead being drawn outside,” Baloro said.

He said they had arrested some people claiming to be legitimate STL bet collectors but lacked proper IDs.

Lawyer Joel Descallar, president of the Pilipinas Pacific Rim Corp. (PPRC), which mans STL operations in Albay, said they thank Salceda for recognizing it is the PCSO’s discretion to shut down STL operations.

“STL is a national project and it would take only a (national-level intervention) to stop it,” Descallar said in a mobile phone interview.

No benefits

He denied allegations that the PPRC was being used in illegal gambling.

“There is no economic benefit (if we involve in jueteng). We are the legal operators of STL. We operate in the open. We are in the mainstream. We are legitimate business people,” he said.

“Also, there are big risks. Our license could be revoked and that does not commensurate any gain if there is,” Descallar said.

Nelly Loyola, PCSO-Albay lottery operations chief, said they respected Salceda’s directive but the PSCO has yet to receive an official, black-and-white copy of it.

=============

My Take:

This latest Salceda antic is just for show.

1. he has no legal right to stop the stl.

2. it is an open-secret that he supports jueteng(illegal numbers game) in albay.  in camarines sur, its the elder villafuerte (luis).

3. jueteng is the biggest source of money for the police and politicos in bicol because bicol is a poverty-stricken region.  wala nang iba pang source ng pera sa bikol, liban na lang kung ibenta nila ang mayon.

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