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PNP readies sanctions against cops who fail to act on illegal gambling

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The Philippine National Police (PNP) said it will impose tougher sanctions against police officials for not taking action against illegal gambling.

PNP deputy chief for operations, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, said he will meet concerned directorates with their contact officers to conduct an in-depth study on illegal gambling operations in the country. 

"Titingnan din natin kung paano nakakalusot yung illegal gambling operations [We will also take a look at how and why illegal gambling operations go unnoticed]," Eleazar told reporters as he led the destruction of 56 units of video karera machines together with PNP-Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (IMEG) chief, Col. Ronald Lee, in Camp Crame.

Eleazar said the one-strike policy on police officials means that PNP chief, Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa, is serious in the anti-illegal gambling campaign.

“The Chief PNP (Gen. Archie Gamboa) really means business on this campaign. The relief of different unit commanders in the ground will have a clear message and impact on the other unit commanders," said Eleazar.

Since the one-strike policy was implemented, numerous unit commanders and chiefs of police have been relieved. 

Recently, three city police chiefs and seven units commanders in Metro Manila were relieved.

"With this development, we are expecting and hoping that unit commanders would react to once and for all and substantially eradicate these illegal gambling operations," he added.

Stressing that gambling has always been part of Filipino culture, Eleazar said this was taken advantage of by syndicates for money-making activities.

The gambling syndicates, he said, are also responsible for the evolution of illegal gambling which is the reason for the proliferation of online gambling.

"Like illegal drugs, gambling addiction robs the sanity of a person both young and old as it affects both his potential and productivity. (It makes a family dysfunctional) and it poses a threat to the community where he lives when he is forced to do something to sustain his gambling addiction," said Eleazar.

As chairman of the PNP Oversight Committee, Eleazar said that he had discussed the renewed drive against illegal gambling with police commanders across the country.

Eleazar was tasked by Gamboa to review all the modus operandi of illegal gambling syndicates and come up with recommendations before the PNP leadership meets with government regulatory bodies like the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.

The first meeting was held on Tuesday.

He said that with the intervention of the IMEG, the connivance between illegal gambling operators and law enforcement agencies would be stopped. 

"Talagang dapat sagasaan lahat [All of them will be hit], I believe that everybody will react on this guideline of the chief PNP," he noted. 

He warned that those found involved in any illegal gambling activities, be they a gambler or protector, will be relieved and charged administratively and criminally.

Lee, meanwhile, revealed that operations of video karera machines were also found near the places where the illegal drug trade was happening. 

He bared that several players of the video karera machines were also using illegal drugs. 

The seized video karera machines were from the "depressed areas" of Caloocan, Pasay, and Muntinlupa City. 

Meanwhile, PHP30,000 worth of coins were also confiscated in various anti-illegal gambling operations.

Lee said there are 24 civilians facing raps due to illegal gambling.

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