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GMA News - Bongbong wants to expand Senate probe on jueteng

In The News
28 September 2010

By Kimberly Jane Tan | GMA News

GMA_onlineA neophyte senator wants the Senate to expand its investigation on jueteng to include recent revelations regarding the illegal but immensely popular numbers game.

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong" Marcos Jr., who heads the Senate committee on local government, said he wants to include in the investigation how gambling lords launder jueteng money, the claim by whistleblower Sandra Cam that officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) received luxury cars from big time jueteng operators, and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s recent privilege speech tagging known personalities in the illegal numbers game.

“Kailangang imbestigahan ito dahil ito ang utos ng taong-bayan (We have to investigate this because this is the will of the people)," he told reporters in an interview on Tuesday.

On Monday, Cam told the House committee on games and amusement that some PCSO officials received Mini Coopers worth about P2 million each from big-time jueteng operators who also own franchises of the government-run Small Town Lottery (STL).

On the other hand, Santiago last week alleged that the heads of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) have been receiving P300 million in jueteng payoffs every year.

She likewise identified local officials and other suspected gambling lords to be the main jueteng operators in five regions in the Philippines.

Senator Teofisto Guingona, who co-chairs the inquiry as head of the blue ribbon committee, had earlier said he would like to limit the Senate inquiry on what was already tackled during their first hearing.

During the hearing, retired Lingayen Archibishop Oscar Cruz tagged several personalities in the jueteng controversy, including DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno and retired Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Jesus Verzosa.

Marcos, however, said they need to include the recent revelations in their investigation to assess the credibility of these information and determine whether Congress should act on it.

“I would like to continue and exhaust all sources of information to be able to say that we have done an exhaustive review and exhaustive investigation. The investigation has just begun. We have to carry on," he said.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, for his part, said he was in favor of any investigation that will improve the condition of the country. He likewise reiterated his stand that the government should just legalize jueteng. - KBK,GMANews.TV