Jueteng or STL? Numbers game is on in Ilocos Norte
by Cristina Arzadon
Laoag City (15 September) -- Jueteng operations continue to thrive in towns and cities in Ilocos Norte but these are kicking in the form of the government-sanctioned Small Town Lotteries.
Police Supt. Marloun Chan, Ilocos Norte Police Provincial Director, said no report on the proliferation of jueteng was recorded because residents were playing the state-sponsored STL and not the illegal numbers' racket.
"(There is no jueteng) It is moot and academic because what we have is STL," Chan said during the Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting.
But even bet collectors agree that what they have been collecting was for jueteng and not for STL.
Collectors do not wear any identification cards bearing their affiliation with any STL operator. No receipts are issued each time they collect bets from residents while the long strips of paper used to record bets are not stamped with any identification that it was for STL.
A jueteng collector said jueteng draws are conducted three times daily for seven days except declared traditional holidays.
Manong Jun, a bet collector, said draws were not interrupted the previous days despite the controversy generated by the jueteng expose of Archbishop Oscar Cruz.
"In the past, operators and managers would immediately alert us to stop collecting bets because of intensified anti-jueteng drives. But we haven't been notified of any suspension since the expose," he added.
Manong Jun makes the rounds of bet-collection from government employees, tricycle drivers and in eateries around government buildings. He said even policemen routinely cast their bets.
He said jueteng will continue for as long as there are people willing to bet and officials who are tolerant of the illegal numbers game.
He said he doesn't any knowledge about the area operator because only collectors and sub-agents meet during jueteng draws.
He added the area where jueteng draws are conducted would be relocated from time to time not to keep the police away but to avoid the heat from residents who are against illegal gambling. (PIA Ilocos Norte) [top]