Under Major General Benjamin Acorda, Jr., the Philippine National Police (PNP) is cracking down on illegal gaming across the country. Special operations forces have been dispatched to carry out the agency's "Anti-Illegal Gambling Campaign Plan: Operation High Roller." It is accompanied by a warning to all officers: one strike and you're out.
Acorda stated last Thursday that the PNP is stepping up its efforts to eradicate unlawful gaming. He emphasised a one-time plan involving all members of the force. He emphasised that passivity or ignorance against illegal gaming would have immediate consequences.
Acorda stated that any police officer in a leadership position who fails to effectively curb and prevent unlawful gambling within their jurisdiction would face administrative charges and may lose their job. After one month of duty, officials are subject to the one-strike policy.
There will be no more flexibility.
Acorda, who took over as PNP head only a month ago, and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) recently signed an agreement to initiate a statewide campaign against illegal gambling. They all agree that gambling has a negative impact on society.
With this strong stance, the PNP aims to leave no room for leniency in eradicating the illegal gambling menace,” said PNP General Benjamin Acorda, Jr.
Mel Robles, Chief Executive Officer of the PCSO, agreed that unlawful gambling has a negative impact on the moral values of the country. He also stated that it results in considerable revenue losses for the PCSO.
Robles recommended people to only play PCSO-approved games, like as Lotto and municipal controlled lotteries. He emphasised that such games allow people to not only win prizes, but also donate to good organisations.
The deployment of specialised units of officers who know how to discover and dismantle illicit gambling businesses is part of Acorda's Anti-illicit Gambling Campaign Plan. Within the confines of the law, the groups essentially have full rein to go after any venue and anyone they suspect is implicated.
Any officer in a position of responsibility who fails to assist in the prevention of unlawful gambling will be held accountable. Acorda guarantees "no leniency" to anyone who breaks the law.
Policing the cops
The Philippines' trust in law enforcement and public leaders is eroding. Fighting between aspirants for governor in Negros Oriental months ago allegedly resulted with one contender killing another.
More recently, the PNP has had to work extra hard to repair its reputation following a drug-trafficking crisis. A case involving more than 49 senior and young police officers was recently reported by the Philippine News Agency. There were five colonels and one general among them.
They allegedly had a direct or indirect role in a case involving PHP6.7 billion (US$119.53 million) in shabu, a methamphetamine derivative. Some of the policemen are accused of stealing shabu supplies from evidence lockers and selling them on the streets for cash. Others tampered with records in order to eliminate the evidence trails. Several others assisted in the distribution of supplies.
Acorda expects that his new approach would contribute to the restoration of public trust. However, some politicians believe it does not go far enough. Representative Johnny Pimentel, vice head of the Philippine House Committee on Good Governance and Public Accountability, is one of them.
Pimentel wants Congress to pass legislation that would create a separate organisation for the PNP's Internal Affairs Service. It would no longer be under to the agency's supervision, which he claims will give it more flexibility and ability to combat corruption in the PNP.
By fLEXI tEAM