BACOLOD CITY, May 28 (PNA) — Suspected prominent personalities in business and politics who are allegedly involved in illegal operation of jai alai in Negros Occidental are now under close surveillance, disclosed the Philippine National Police.
Acting Police Provincial Director Senior Supt. Ricardo de la Paz of Negros Occidental said they have identified some of these suspects as financiers, while others were acting as protectors and major corridors.
“We are maintaining a watchlist of financiers and operators but we cannot disclose it yet for it might jeopardize our operations,” De la Paz said.
De la Paz added that they are now on the process of case build-up and if evidences warrant, they will file appropriate charges against the major personalities behind the illegal gambling.
To pin down the “big fish” in illegal gambling, De la Paz said they have to get the trusted men of these suspected personalities that can act as “prosecution witnesses”.
“We have to get their trusted men (to get to the bottom of this problem),” De la Paz stressed.
Intensified police operation is in response to the May 22 all-out-war declaration of re-elected Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. against all forms of illegal gambling.
To date, the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office has conducted 19 positive operations against illegal gambling which led to the arrest of 22 suspects.
The suspects, who were mostly bet collectors, were arrested in Victorias, Cadiz, Sagay, Escalante, San Carlos, Calatrava, Cauayan and Kabankalan.
Marañon said illegal gambling must be stopped in the province for it only makes the poor poorer.
“Gambling destroys the lives of the people especially the poor. They will spend whatever money they have even if it is for their food just to bet in jai-alai or daily double,” he lamented.
Without naming names, Marañon claimed that illegal gambling proliferates especially in the north because it is protected by some political leaders there. (PNA)