SAYING that it breeds corruption and may mutate into other forms of organized crime, including drug-trafficking, illegal vices, money-laundering and kidnapping, the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Monday declared an all-out war against all forms of illegal gambling.
At the same time, de la Rosa warned that local officials, including governors, congressman and barangay (village) chairmen would not be spared in the implementation of Executive Order (EO) 13 issued recently by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“[They are all included. We will go to war against them if they are hard-headed. It does not matter if they are local chief executives… they will be targets if they block the anti-illegal gambling campaign],” he told reporters at Camp Crame, the PNP’s main headquarters in Quezon City.
He also warned police officers who are protecting gambling lords that they would be targeted by the PNP’s Counter-Intelligence Task Force (CITF) since their act is tantamount to corruption.
The CITF was recently created to go after rogue policemen.
“[Any policeman found to be involved in illegal gambling will be sent to Basilan],” dela Rosa said.
Malacañang earlier officially designated Basilan in southern Philippines as a deployment destination for rogue policemen.
EO 13 directs the PNP, the National Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies to intensify the national campaign against illegal gambling in coordination with the Department of Justice, Department of the Interior and Local Government and Department of Information and Communications Technology.
De la Rosa said the PNP Directorate for Operations is preparing adjustments in the campaign plan against illegal gambling that will now cover illegal online gambling activities as defined under EO 13.
The PNP, according to the PNP chief, will concentrate first on the illegal numbers game jueteng because the huge revenue from it that is supposed to go the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office is going to illegal bookies instead.
According to dela Rosa, the Directorate for Operations has alerted all police regional offices to conduct “One-Time-Big-Time” operations against illegal gambling in their respective areas.
“The bottom line is the national advocacy to rid the country of all forms of illegal gambling activities that contribute to moral decay and provide an economic support system that sustains other forms of illegal activity,” he noted.
When asked if the total war against illegal gambling would be “bloody” just like the government’s war on drugs, de la Rosa said, “[It will not be bloody because illegal gambling involves only money while drug-dealing involves killing by mentally deranged people].”