Press Release
April 12, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today took the Philippine National Police (PNP) to task for its apparent failure to implement the Anti-Illegal Gambling Law (Republic Act 9287) which imposes harsher penalties for violators of the law.

Pimentel said the PNPs lip service treatment, if not disregard of RA 9287, which was enacted into law on April 2, 2004, could explain why jueteng, masiao and other underground numbers games continue to proliferate in many parts of the country.

He called attention to this problem in view of persistent reports that police officers continue to use Presidential Decree 1602, issued during the martial law years, in filing charges against persons caught for involvement in jueteng and other forms of illegal numbers game.

Only last week, the Quezon City Police District Intelligence Division used the antiquated Marcos decree in charging officials and employees of Benchmark Acquisition International Corp. for illegally operating small town lottery in QC.

Instead of invoking RA 9287, The Quezon City police charged the respondents with violation of Presidential Decree 1602, despite the fact that this has already been superseded by RA 9287. Benchmark was found to be operating without a mayors permit, a breach of city ordinance SP-91. Also charged in the case with the Quezon City prosecutors office were some PCSO-STL officials.

Why do our police officers keep on using Presidential Decree 1602 as the legal basis for filing criminal cases against illegal gambling operators and agents when this martial law decree is already deemed repealed after Republic Act 9287 took effect two years ago? Pimentel said.

He said it is a flagrant and condemnable act of omission on the part of the PNP to overlook the enforcement of RA 9287 because this law was crafted by Congress precisely to impose more severe penalties on perpetrators of illegal gambling and to address the frequent complaint of law enforcers about the weaknesses of the old law specially in terms of light punishment.

Under Presidential Decree 1602, violators of the law could be fined for as low as P400 and as high as P2,000 and may be imprisoned only for six months.

But under RA 9287, maintainers, managers and operators of jueteng and other forms of outlawed gambling may be punished with imprisonment from 12 years to 14 years while public officials and lawmen found protecting them may be jailed for 16 to 20 years. Gambling operators can be fined for P3 million to P5 million.

Supervisors, bet collectors and other workers of illegal gambling outfits may be jailed from six to 12 years. Even ordinary bettors may be imprisoned from 30 to 90 days.

Pimentel said it is a big mistake for the PNP to keep on using PD 1602 as the legal basis for prosecuting illegal gamblers because the prevailing law for this type of criminal offense is RA 9287.

He cited section 15 of RA 9287 which states: The provisions of other laws, decrees, executive orders, rules and regulations inconsistent with this Act are hereby repealed, amended or modified accordingly.

Pimentel advised PNP Director General Arturo Lomibao and Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno, chairman of the National Police Commission to distribute copies of RA 9287 to all police units and to include this law as a separate topic in seminars for policemen that are routinely organized by PNP and Napolcom.

Actually, Pimentel said the senators have been receiving complaints and feedbacks from various parts of the country about the non-implementation of the new Anti-Illegal Gambling Law by the police over the last two years and they have called the attention of the PNP about this problem.

But he lamented that the senators have received feeble response from the PNP leadership. As a consequence, he said nobody has been convicted and meted out severe penalties spelled out under RA 9287.

The PNPs persistent failure to enforce RA 9287 constitutes a mockery of the law and this speaks ill of the PNP because it is constitutionally tasked with enforcing the laws. Where is the rule of law when the police officers themselves ignore the law? Pimentel said.

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