THE President stopped members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) from conducting anti-illegal drug operations and, instead, ordered them to intensify the campaign on illegal gambling across the country.
The order came after news broke out that a few rogue cops were behind the kidnapping of Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo who was eventually murdered inside the police headquarters in Camp Crame.
In line with Duterte’s directive on illegal gambling, the Palace also warned the PNP and NBI from taking bribes or protection money from gambling lords.
The Palace said if law enforcers are allegedly caught and proven guilty of such an indiscretion, President Duterte would have no apprehensions in punishing them.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the President gave a stern warning to people in government that they would be the first ones to go if they were caught for extortion or corruption.
The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) would strictly impose the penalties against violators of the illegal numbers game in their area of responsibility.
Since Director Oscar Albayalde took over as chief of the NCRPO last July, long before Duterte’s instruction to intensify the fight against gambling lords, his cops had already arrested 341 violators involved in jueteng, video karera, fruit games, online gambling, cock fighting, and even the coin game cara y cruz.
With the sudden shift of focus from drugs to gambling, authorities now appear to have their hands full in trying to map out and trace the whereabouts of these gambling lords.
But come to think of it, time and again, the names of several law enforcers have come up in newspaper columns or radio commentaries for the supposed protection they have been providing to illegal gambling operations.
If these news items were to be relied upon, it would appear that some of our gallant law enforcers have already known who these gambling lords are and where their operations can be found. Still, they all seem unaware of illegal gambling hubs when questioned.
Rumors say that the police cannot break away from the regular financial support they derive from gambling lords since it has greatly assisted their operations, vehicles and even the construction and renovation of some of their police stations.
Still, bear in mind that we cannot have a police force with some of its officials subservient to gambling lords in spite of the benefits they provide.
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