87 people nabbed for running illegal STL outlets

A TOTAL of 87 individuals operating illegal small town lottery (STL) outlets was arrested by the Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) in its nearly four months of operations against illegal gambling.

They were caught from March 24, 2021 to July 9, according to MCPO information officer Lt. Col. Mercy Villaro.

The MCPO crackdown on illegal STL operations came two months head of the announcement of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Royina Garma, who in May 2021 said that PCSO suffered losses of P12 million a day because of the illegal operation of STL outlets in the cities of Cebu and Mandaue.

Following Garma’s pronouncement, Police Regional Office 7 Director Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo ordered the local police to conduct operations against illegal STL outlets in the two cities and in the entire Central Visayas.

In Mandaue City, Villlaro said that with the total of 84 operations conducted by the City Intelligence Unit (CIU) and six police stations, they have arrested a total of 87 individuals for operating illegal STL outlets.

Along with these arrests, Villaro said they confiscated a total of P13,610 in bet money.

These 87 individuals were arrested for violating Presidential Decree (PD) 1602, which sets the provisions against illegal numbers games.

Villaro said even though operating STL outlets is illegal, some people still engage in it as they are used to it as their source of income and it could give them easy money.

The other problem is that some Filipinos tend to engage in a game of chance, and by doing so they give profits to the financiers of illegal gambling activities.

Despite getting arrested for operating illegal STL and other illegal gambling activities, some individuals, when released from jail, still return to their old ways because committing illegal gambling only carries a minimal penalty in case of conviction and a minimal amount of bail bond for temporary liberty.

As stated in the PD 1602, any person caught directly and indirectly caught in taking part in illegal gambling will face a fine of P500 to P2,000, while repeat offenders will be fined P1,000 to P6,000.

Due to these factors, Villaro said the CIU and the police stations are challenged in capturing all of the illegal STL outlets in Mandaue City.

Villaro said they are continuing to monitor illegal gambling activities, including illegal STL in the community. The MCPO, she said, also coordinates with informants from the community and validates their information before conducting any operation. (KFD)