Mayor: Illegal gambling rampant in Murcia

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Saturday, May 31, 2014


MURCIA Mayor Andrew Montelibano and Ruel Villarosa admitted on Friday that illegal gambling is rampant in their municipality.

Montelibano, however, said that the operators of the numbers games are not from Murcia, but from Bacolod City.

"There are three big operators and financiers of jai-alai in the town now and the police have already made apprehensions of those involved in illegal gambling," the Villarosa said.

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The issue surfaced after the controversial exchange of words between Montelibano and the two priests of the Immaculate Concepcion Parish, Fr. Greg Patiño and Fr. Agustin Hinayan, over illegal drug and illegal gambling issues.

The mayor reacted when the priests condemned the proliferation of illegal drugs and illegal gambling in the municipality during their sermons.

He hit the two priests for supposedly besmirching the image of Murcia by raising the issues.

Montelibano said that during the Santacruzan procession Friday, Fr. Hinayan kept on talking about illegal drugs and illegal gambling.

“It’s already overboard for a priest holding a bible and a rosary talking about illegal drugs and illegal gambling in front of the children," the mayor said.

Fr. Patiño had earlier said that as priests, it is part of their moral obligation to teach, guide and enlighten the parishioners.

“We don’t single out who is the user or the pusher. We are only educating the parishioners about the bad effects of drugs and gambling.”

So, “Why get mad”? Fr. Patiño asked. [READ: Priest tells mayor: ‘Why get angry?’]

Fr. Patiño said that while it is true that their sermons touch on illegal gambling and illegal drugs, they are not implicating anyone.

The parish priest said the crimes in Murcia were mostly related to drugs and gambling and “the figure is alarming.”

He added that it is not only him and Fr. Hinayan who are campaigning against illegal drugs and illegal gambling but also the pastors of Christian denominations.

“It is part of our moral obligation to teach, guide and enlighten the parishioners,” Fr. Patiño said. (Sun.Star Bacolod/Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 31, 2014.

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