by Maricar Cinco
from Inquirer Southern Luzon
SAN PEDRO, LAGUNA—Outgoing Philippine National Police Director General Jesus Verzosa did not take action despite directives from the Aquino administration for him to stop “jueteng” operations.
It was learned from a Palace official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, that Verzosa had received two confidential letters in July.
The letters directed him to submit reports and immediately take action on jueteng, because if not, “the first to get the blame would be the Philippine National Police, next is the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the President,” the official said.
The letters, however, were ignored. “There was no answer, no response. No actions (taken) by the top police official,” he added.
Interior Undersecretary Rico E. Puno also allegedly received similar letters and was “confronted” on the matter but had denied any link to the illegal numbers racket.
The official said “[the need to stop jueteng] had been taken up (several times) among PNP and DILG officials.”
This was even before retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz disclosed that two trusted officials of President Benigno Aquino III overseeing security matters were getting at least P2 million in monthly payola from jueteng.
Mr. Aquino has knowledge of the letters, the official said.
In a statement furnished the Inquirer on Tuesday, Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo said: “As early as July, I have directed then PNP Director Gen. Jesus Verzosa to conduct a nationwide campaign to stamp out jueteng, as well as validate reports that the operation of STL (small town lottery) is being used as front for the illegal numbers game.”
Another document from the DILG estimated that the annual revenue generated from jueteng operations reached P37.7 billion, while the state-sanctioned betting scheme generated only P1.7 billion.
“In sum, the government is foregoing around P9.083 billion a year because STL has significantly failed to curb jueteng,” the document read.
On July 20, Robredo issued an urgent memorandum addressed to Verzosa.
“I have received reports of the resurgence of jueteng in many parts of the country. In Metro Manila, jueteng operators have allegedly dropped names of DILG and police officials in (an) apparent attempt to discredit our efforts,” the memo read.
“In this regard, may I reiterate the directive to conduct a nationwide operation to stamp out jueteng. Moreover, kindly validate reports that the operation of small town lottery (STL) is being used as a front for the illegal numbers game.”
Robredo said Verzosa responded with a July 26 memo, stating that “all PNP units have been directed to intensify the campaign against all forms of illegal gambling, particularly jueteng and its derivatives, and to submit a weekly accomplishment report to the office of the chief PNP.”