“Without gambling, I would not exist.” –Hunter S. Thompson
The Philippines National Police (PNP) has yet to eliminate illegal gambling but nearly every director-general has vowed to eradicate the practice during their tenure; and they all failed. The latest official, PNP Director-General Archie Francisco Gamboa, made the same promise – It wasn’t news that he announced and it won’t be news when he fails.
The news, however, is his threat against regional directors who fail to end illegal gambling in one week’s time. Stamping out illegal gambling is a tall order and it’s downright impossible to eradicate the practice in one week; only Superman can do that.
“I have forwarded to you list of operators in your different regions,” Gamboa declared. “I’m giving you a week.”
This means, after one week, heads will roll.
Another problem for Gamboa was his reminder for all police officers to “not accept bribes from operators of illegal gambling.” It’s like telling off-duty sailors not to enter nightclubs at ports where they are docked. Many police officers are on illegal gambling payrolls. Some even serve as bodyguards for gambling lords.
Not all of the PNP’s 191,000 personnel are immaculate.
If they aren’t protecting the illegal drug trade, some are in cahoots with illegal gambling lords. Pressuring regional directors will never yield to positive results. Gambling operators who don’t want corrupt PNP regional directors axed might “cooperate” for the time being and stop operations temporarily but, after several weeks or months, it will be “business as usual.”
Even Police Regional Office 6 chief, Brigadier General Rene Pamuspusan, acknowledge the presence of bookies or illegal numbers game operations in many parts of the Western Visayas. He said, “Apparently, there are really individuals who keep on insisting on doing something illegal.”
These operators, who have been organized for a long period of time and operate like syndicates.
They also have their own intelligence network, are well-entrenched, well-oiled, and well-protected.
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Alex P. Vidal, who is based in New York City, used to be the editor for two local dailies in Iloilo./WDJ