ROUGH CUTS|Joblessness vs illegal gambling drive

VERY CLEVER these financiers of the illegal numbers game “Last 2.” They are capitalizing on the need for livelihood opportunities of a good number of Davaoenos that are expected to be lost once the city make good its no-nonsense campaign against illegal gambling as mandated by President Rodrigo Duterte.

These financiers who are just seated in swivel chairs in the comfort of their residences, or even offices, are apparently organizing the hundreds, or even thousands, of “Last 2” ushers to go to City Hall to seek audience with Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio. They begged to her to allow them to continue with their illegal activities pending the local authorities’ finding of alternative income generating projects for them.

Despite the passionate plea of the ushers, the city mayor through her Chief of Staff lawyer Raul Nadela, has not changed her position. So, it’s go ahead for the police to run after all forms of illegal gambling in the city.

The question now is how far can the police go in curbing illegal gambling? It is no secret that a good number of policemen including ranking officers, are in the take of local gambling lords, especially Last 2.

This numbers game is a daily phenomenon and we can only imagine how big the money will go into the coffers of the financiers and those who are in the hierarchy of the gambling operation.

Frankly, we have to admit that the police really have a hard time implementing the mayor’s order of running religiously after the illegal gambling operations. The reason is obvious.

Perhaps there will be some kind of temporary slowing down, but there can never be a total stoppage. By now the operators and their ushers and coordinators may already be plotting out their moves to counter any all-out drive by the police. And we would not even be surprised if some “beneficiary” law enforcers and local officials may be advising them how to dodge any arrest or raid on their area of operation.

Besides, like the illegal drugs trade, there is enormous amount of money involved in such numbers game as Last 2 and its financiers and operators have already added huge fortune to their already overly full financial coffers. And this is one unarguable fact that the more money there are to accumulate with hardly a risk, the bigger the greed becomes. And this is the case for gambling operators.

Other than these, those who are vulnerable to apprehensions in the campaign are the small fries; the ushers and coordinators. The big-time financiers could just be holed up in their comfort zones or are hobnobbing with the powers that be in golf games and other social gatherings.

Meanwhile, their cash registers keep on ringing even as the corrupt law enforcers and other scheming local officials are keeping tab of their schedule for collection of the “tariff” due them from the numbers game operators.

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We do not know if Philippine National Police Director General Bato De La Rosa is aware of his being too reckless with his words. But lately we have observed that he has been mouthing words we feel detrimental not only to the police organization but to himself and to the campaign against illegal drugs.

His latest blunder was when he talked to the national media telling them of the award that the PNP was preparing for P/Chief Insp. Espenido, Ozamis City police chief, and his possible re-assignment to another place. Espenido was responsible for the raid on the residence of Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. which resulted to his death and fifteen others including his wife. His daughter, the city vice mayor, and several others were also arrested over charges of illegal drugs trade and other criminal activities.

When asked where Espenido’s likely new assignment, the PNP Director General told the mediamen present without an iota of hesitation that the PNP is still determining who the next target would be. That statement definitely could lead everyone to think that if the mayor of the place (city or town) where Espenido will be assigned next is in the list of President Duterte as one of the narco-politicians, then it is a given that he is the next target of police anti-illegal drugs operation.

And if none of the city or municipal officials is in the President’s list, then such statement by Dela Rosa may have already warned the private drug lords of their fate. So, it could either be that they beat Espenido on the draw, or they get out of the city before Espenido assumes his post.

Meanwhile, the national police chief may have also indiscreetly described Espenido as the PNP’s “berdugo” let loose to finish off big-time drug lords in the country. Not quite an acceptable description for a police officer worth his salt.

Posted in Opinion