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2 cops sacked, face illegal gambling payola probe

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

Two policemen assigned in Negros Occidental are now facing a probe for allegedly receiving protection money from financiers of illegal gambling.

PLt. Col. Arnel Solis, spokesman of the Police Regional Office 6, disclosed yesterday that the two policemen, whom he did not identify, were relieved from their respective assignments in Negros Occidental, and have been transferred to the Regional Personnel Holding Accounting Unit (RPHAU) at Camp Martin Delgado in Iloilo, for investigation.

Another police personnel assigned at the Aklan Police Provincial Office is also under investigation for alleged involvement in illegal gambling. He joins the two Negros Occidental police commissioned officers assigned at RPHAU, following his relief from Aklan, Solis said.

The relief of three policemen, for allegedly receiving protection money from illegal gambling financiers, comes in the wake of a stern warning issued by PBrig. Gen. Jack Wanky, regional police director of Western Visayas, that he will not spare anybody in the in the intensified campaign against all forms of illegal gambling.

In Negros Occidental, the widespread operations of Small Town Lottery “bookies,” which is not sanctioned by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, has been the subject of a complaint by a legitimate STL operator in the province.

The bookies or collectors are reported to be part of a syndicate that operates the illegal numbers game in Negros Occidental, using STL draws of the PCSO.

While PBrig. Gen. Wanky did not give a quota to police units on the number of illegal gambling violators to be arrested, Solis said they were instructed to verify the existence of illegal gambling operations in their respective areas, which is to be validated by a team from PRO6.

For the month of April, the intensified campaign against illegal gambling in Negros Occidental, including the highly urbanized Bacolod City, has led to the apprehension of 246 persons.

Among the six provincial and two city police offices in Region 6, the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office topped the anti-illegal gambling drive for the month of April, with 205 violators nabbed in 71 operations, PRO6 records showed.

Last month, a policeman and a personnel of the Bureau of Fire and Protection in Iloilo were arrested and charged in court for involvement in illegal gambling.

“I have been telling my personnel not to engage in illegal gambling as they will face stricter sanctions should evidence warrant action against them. I ordered these three officers relieved while the investigation is underway,” Wanky stressed in a press briefing at Camp Martin Delgado in Iloilo City, on Wednesday.

He added that the immediate superiors of the three police personnel would also be investigated, due to command responsibility.*

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