PRO2 director reminds men of strict policy vs illegal gambling

POLICE Regional Office 2 director, Brigadier General Crizaldo O. Nieves yesterday reminded anew all Cagayan Valley police personnel of his strict policy against illegal gambling and drinking in public places saying all those who will be caught will be facing criminal and administrative charges.

Nieves reiterated his directive in the aftermath of separate anti-illegal gambling raids in Tuguegarao City last Saturday which resulted in the arrest of 30 individuals  including two local government officials and two policemen who were found to be playing mahjong and ignoring social distancing measures,

In adherence to the Philippine National Police Revitalized Internal Cleansing, the PRO2 director said that the two policemen involved in the said illegal gambling activity are now facing administrative charges.

The accused were also charged for violation of Presidential Decree 1602 or illegal gambling before the Tuguegarao City Prosecutor’s Office last Sunday.

Nieves said that the two policemen were reassigned to the PRO2 Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Section while their cases are being heard.

Following the arrest of the two, the official reminded his men against going to cockpit arenas, casinos, other forms of illegal gambling and drinking in public places.

He urged them to stop their illegal activities and vices or suffer the consequences such as outright dismissal for police personnel engaged in all forms of illegal gambling in the region.

“The Police Regional Office 2 leadership would like to assure the public that we will strictly enforce the law without fear or favor and will not tolerate any wrong doing by any of our personnel,” Nieves said while adding that the arrest of the two policemen should serve as a stern warning to all Cagayan Valley policemen that they really mean business.

Nieves said he has also strengthened the newly-created PRO2 Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Team in the region which will be tasked to monitor PNP personnel involved in illegal activities in Cagayan Valley.

Last Saturday, the accused including an Isabela town vice-mayor, two policemen and a retired cop were arrested for playing ‘mahjong’ games in full violation of the social distancing measures required under the General Community Quarantine in Tuguegarao.

The twin raids came in the wake of an order from Nieves, the newly-installed Cagayan Valley police director for an all-out war against criminality, drugs, terrorism and corruption in the region.

Nieves also ordered a massive campaign against all forms of illegal gambling activities in the region where the local police are currently enforcing all quarantine measures including the wearing of face masks, curfew hours and social distancing to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

Nine of the accused were apprehended at the 2nd floor of a house located along Maharlika Highway in Tuguegarao City which was raided by the local police 2:50 p.m. Saturday amid a complaint from local residents, said Cagayan Police Provincial Office director, Colonel Ariel N. Quilang.

Arrested during the raid were Maconacon, Isabela Vice-Mayor Jolly Taberner,65; Philippine National Police uniformed personnel Maconel Pascua,39; and Christine Ruiz; retired policeman Gerry Adducul,66; civilians Pedro Baggay,33; Jayson Allam,39; Grace Laggui,44; Marlene Bautista, a 52-year old employee of the Department of Agriculture; and the owner of the house identified as Peter Laggui.

According to Quilang, a team of policemen led by Lieutenant George Cauilan and Chief Master Sergeant Florencito Daquiaog seized two mahjong tables, two sets of mahjong tiles, eight chairs, two mahjong pads, three pairs of dice, one chief, cash in different denominations and a pistol with two loaded magazines during the raid.

Another raid in a house in Dulig Street in Leonarda, Tuguegarao City said to be being rented by one Monette Baccay 3:30 p.m. Saturday resulted in the arrest of Baccay,64; Shiela Velasco,44; and Danny Baccay, a 65-year old city councilor for playing ‘mahjong’ too. Two still unidentified persons managed to escape arrest during the raid and are still being hunted by the local police.

The three were apprehended inside the Paras Building which was raided by the local police led by Captain Samuel Lopez following reports from the community. Seized by the raiders were one three mahjong tables,  three mahjong set and  bet hips in different denominations.