LEGAZPI CITY, Feb. 19 (PNA) -- As the government’s war against illegal gambling is starting to warm up, at least 232 persons were arrested in police operations across the six Bicol provinces, a ranking official of the Philippine National Police in Bicol on Sunday said.
Chief Superintendent Melvin Buenafe, director of Police Regional Office in Bicol (PRO5), said police have carried out 76 anti-illegal gambling operations during the period February 3 to 18.
"The crackdown came in the form of street arrests of jueteng (illegal numbers games) bet collectors and raids in gambling dens operating table games such as 'pusoy,' 'tong-its,' poker and mahjong."
Most of the arrested suspects were also involved in the illegal operation of cockfighting, bookies, lotteng, card games and cara y cruz.
Buenafe said aside from those arrested, the police operations initially yielded some PHP47,841 in bet money confiscated from illegal gambling bet collectors and gambling dens across the region.
Buenafe vowed to stop all forms of illegal gambling believed to be the root of criminality in the region, including drug addiction.
He said many drug dependents resort to doing petty crimes and get involved in illegal gambling to have money for drugs.
During a command conference last week, which was attended by all the highest officials of PRO5 along with the six PNP provincial directors and the city director of Naga City Police Office, Buenafe ordered them to double their efforts to stop any kind of illegal activities in the region, particularly illegal gambling.
Buenafe had warned all the provincial directors and chiefs of police about “the three-strike policy” with the implementation of “Target Output Policy (TOP) Charlie,” which he said “temporarily replaces the anti-illegal drug campaign called Oplan Tokhang.”
Under TOP-Charlie and the chain of command responsibility, the provincial director, city director and the chief of police who will fail three times in the implementation of the program will be facing administrative cases and automatically relieved from their posts.
Senior Inspector Ma.Luisa Calubaquib, PRO5 spokesperson, said the officers and men of PNP Bicol are already familiar with the target output policy especially during the time of then PRO5 director Victor P. Deona.
During Deona’s term, there were provincial directors and chiefs of police who were relieved and had to undergo a re-training course after they failed to meet the target output policy assessment given to them by the advisory board created by Camp Gen. Simeon Ola, headquarters of PRO5 here.
The advisory board consists of heads and representatives of non-government organizations, academe, religious group, government line agencies and some of high ranking police officers of PRO5.
Calubaquib said there were parameters also set up in grading the performance of the provincial directors and chiefs of police with the board given the power to recommend the kind of penalty.
The PRO5 is still consolidating the reports of police provincial offices regarding their operations against the most wanted persons in their area of responsibility, illegal fishing, illegal logging and other criminal activities. (PNA) JBP/GVR/MSA/JH/CBD/RSM