By NITZ ARANCON
THE chairman of the city council’s committee of games and amusement yesterday alleged that illegal gambling operations in the city, particularly the “Peryahan ng Bayan,” have received police and military protection.
Councilor Roger Abaday, “Dili magakadakpan ang mga operator anang ‘Peryahan ng Bayan’ kay na-a man diay police ug military nag-protect kanila.”
Mario Pelisco, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) manager for Malaybalay City, said all Peryahan ng Bayan operations became unauthorized by PCSO shortly before President Duterte assumed as Chief Executive.
Pelisco said the authority of Peryahan’s operator, Globaltech Mobile Online Corp., to operate the numbers game was not renewed by PCSO in May 2016.
Yet the Peryahan ng Bayan continued to operate in Cagayan de Oro and elsewhere in northern Mindanao under the noses of law enforcers. Exactly what the PCSO did to stop the Peryahan operations here also remains unclear.
Camp Alagar claimed that at least 73 Peryahan ng Bayan outlets in the city alone have closed down since President Duterte ordered a halt to all the PCSO-accredited gambling activities throughout the country.
Abaday declined to identify the Peryahan’s police and military protectors but said the city council, through his committee, has scheduled a meeting with officials of the PCSO, police, military, and other concerned government agencies to discuss the alleged corruption and illegal gambling operations.
Abaday said the committee wants to hear the explanation of the PCSO, police and military why there was no clear effort to stop the Peryahan operations and catch those behind the numbers game since the start of the Duterte administration in 2016.
He said the committee scheduled the meeting next week even before Duterte’s order to stop the operations of all PCSO-accredited gaming activities, including the Peryahan.
Lt. Col. Mardy Hortillosa, Camp Alagar spokesman, said the police has continued to be on the watch for numbers games, particularly the Peryahan ng Bayan.
Hortillosa said the police in the region have been given orders to arrest anyone engaged in illegal gambling activities.
The Peryahan ng Bayan and small-town lottery (STL) mechanics were the same — bettors picked three digits (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 0.)
The difference however was on the prizes. In STL, a P1-bet entitled the winner to a P4,500-prize; in Peryahan, the prize was P7,000 for every P1, making the latter more enticing.
The winning numbers were drawn four times a day — one in the morning, another in the afternoon, and twice in the evening (8 pm and 9 pm).