By LITO RULONA
IT would take time before any of the 46 people recently arrested and charged in Region 10 in connection with the government’s renewed anti-illegal gambling campaign can get convicted. In the meantime, the suspects would go scot-free.
This was acknowledged by Camp Alagar spokesman Supt. Lemuel Gonda yesterday even as he revealed how many people have been arrested in northern Mindanao for illegal gambling since January.
Gonda said the operations and arrests were related to the campaign against illegal activities that affect the operations of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s small-town lottery.
Camp Alagar has announced that it has stepped up the campaign on orders coming from President Duterte and National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa by strictly imposing the police’s “one strike policy” on chiefs of police and police station commanders. The policy simply means that inaction on the illegal operations would result in replacement and reassignment.
Gonda said the police have so far arrested and charged at least 46 people in Region 10 connection with the campaign from Jan. 1 to Feb. 18. The breakdown: 21 in Bukidnon, 11 in Lanao del Norte, six in Misamis Occidental, four in Cagayan de Oro, two in Camiguin, one in Iligan City, and another one in Misamis Oriental.
Gonda said police have so far filed 41 cases against the suspects for violation of RA 9287.
The 42 police operations during the January-February period only resulted in the seizure of P24,858 of alleged illegal gambling bets.
Gonda said police also arrested 41 other people in the region for illegal cockfighting, “tong-its,” video karera, “tolilong,” and mahjong. Only eight cases for violation of Presidential Decree 1602 have been filed in connection with these arrests.
Gonda however said the police was aware that it would take months or even years for authorities to win a conviction against the suspects.
In the meantime, the suspects would be out on bail until the courts decide on their cases.
“Naa na sa court ang final decision,” said Gonda.
Gonda said Camp Alagar’s investigation division has been instructed to keep track of the cases.