Ex-police chief denies receiving jueteng money-A A +A
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
MANILA (Updated 2 p.m.) -- Former national police director-general Jesus Verzosa on Wednesday categorically denied accusations that he is an "ultimate recipient" of jueteng payola, but admitted knowing some of those linked to the illegal numbers game.
Appearing before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chaired by Senator Teofisto Guingona III for the first time, Verzosa said he is not involved in jueteng and all the accusations against him are not true.
Verzosa was among the personalities included in a list of jueteng operators and coddlers submitted by retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee last September 21.
He, however, admitted on Wednesday knowing two names on the list given by Cruz.
He said a certain Eddie Fontanilla, whom Cruz identified as a "collector on the ground," is a friend of some of his friends.
Verzosa also acknowledged knowing a certain General Reynaldo Cachuela, named as "intermediate recipient" of payola in Cruz's list. He said they had been in active service together.
Verzosa missed previous hearings of the Senate on jueteng because he was reportedly abroad, prompting Guingona to threaten that he will be put on the watch list of the Bureau of Immigration.
Guingona said there had been no proof that the retired police chief had actually been out of the country when the jueteng investigation started.
Also present during Wednesday's hearing was Local Government Undersecretary Rico Puno, who was also named as "ultimate recipient" of jueteng payola.
Puno also denied the allegations against him, saying he did not and will never receive a single centavo from jueteng or any other illegal activity.
He said he will stay on at the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DLIG) despite black propaganda from "powerful interest groups" who want to embarrass the Aquino administration.
Puno added he sees the allegations against him as a "personal challenge to roll up my sleeves and walk the walk."
"I will not be cowed and destroyed by these sectors," he told senators.
He said he would continue to serve President Benigno Aquino III unless the President tells him to step down.
Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan also denied Cruz's allegations that he receives payola from jueteng syndicates.
Saying he has been "against all forms of illegal gambling, not just jueteng" since the 1990s, Domogan categorically denied accusations that he is a coddler of gambling syndicates.
He said although he supports Cruz's campaign against illegal gambling, the priest should be careful about making unfounded accusations.
"It is totally unfair for me and my family for my name to be dragged into the jueteng scandal," he said.
Domogan said even before the issue of jueteng payola was revived at the Senate, he had already formed a task force against illegal gambling.
The task force, a partnership between religious groups and local police, has made 58 arrests since it was formed in June. (Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)