Drive v. illegal gambling gaining ground-A A +A
Friday, March 22, 2013
THE operation manager of Richan Amusement Center, which distributes video game machines, said their business has been affected by the police’s operation against the machines.
Jay Li said its machines the police confiscated in different barangays are the same machines found in amusement centers in the malls.
“If these machines are illegal, then why are these allowed in malls?” Li said in Cebuano.
However, Cebu City Intelligence Branch (CIB) Chief Romeo Santander said those found in malls are allowed since operated by tokens and offer stuffed toys for prizes, while those found in barangays offer gift checks and monetary rewards.
Insp. Wildemar Tiu of the Waterfront Police Station, for his part, said Richan operates illegally as the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) presented a certification that states that the establishment is not authorized to operate bingo carrera machines.
The PCSO also said Richan does not form part of the lottery network in Central Visayas.
Last month, Richan charged Tiu and Gomerzado Mandawe of the CIB with allegedly violating Republic Act 3019, or the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and grave misconduct for conducting operations in the past few months that led to the confiscation of video game machines owned by Richan, which the police call bingo carrera.
Richan claimed that the bingo carrera is legal since the Cebu City Hall approved the
permit for its operation.
In a related development, 435 confiscated gambling machines were destroyed during a ceremony at the Cebu Provincial Police Office yesterday.
Fourteen policemen were also given awards for their accomplishments in the fight against illegal gambling. Among them was Inspector Mandawe.
Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Marcelo Garbo Jr., the guest speaker, said he won’t be satisfied until the region is declared illegal gambling-free.
According to a report from the PRO 7, the number of financiers and operators in Central Visayas has reportedly dropped as a result of the intensified drive against the illegal numbers game and illegal video game machines.
Most of the towns and barangays in the region, though, are not yet gambling-free.
As of March 12, the same report, said the number of active financiers dropped from 120 to 108, while the number of operators and ushers or coordinators dropped by 372 to 313.
In Bohol, the number of affected areas dropped from 34 to 20.
The report also showed that all the towns in Negros Oriental are affected by illegal gambling.
In Siquijor, illegal gambling affected only one area.
In Cebu, illegal gambling is present in all towns, but the number of financiers reportedly went down from 74 to 68.
In Metro Cebu, the report said police have cleared five barangays in Mandaue City of illegal gambling, but 22 of its barangays are still affected. In Lapu-Lapu City, illegal gambling is only present in seven barangays, while 24 barangays are gambling-free.
In Cebu City, 62 barangays have reportedly been cleared of illegal gambling, but 18 are still being operated by financiers.
Most of the affected areas are in coastal barangays, which is considered depressed areas.
The report also recommended intensifying the drive against illegal gambling and the continuous monitoring of affected areas through counterintelligence operations.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 22, 2013.