Gambling now used as cover for illegal drugs operations

By: Dominic D. Yasay, Nestle L. Semilla, Nestle L. Semilla with Marc Eric Cosep November 17,2016 - 10:45 PM
PRO-7 Regional Director Chief Supt. Noli Taliño presides over a command conference at the  Cebu City Police headquarters in Camp Sotero Cabahug where Cebu City police chief,  Senior Supt. Joel Doria also later told reporters that drug dealers were now using video karera games as a front to their illegal drug operations (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

PRO-7 Regional Director Chief Supt. Noli Taliño presides over a command conference at the Cebu City Police headquarters in Camp Sotero Cabahug where Cebu City police chief, Senior Supt. Joel Doria also later told reporters that drug dealers were now using video karera games as a front to their illegal drug operations (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

With the Duterte administration’s all-out war on illegal drugs, peddlers have found another clever, if not creative, way to sell prohibited substances under the radar to avoid detection.

On the pretext of people just idly playing a game of video karera, illegal drugs are sold in drug dens disguised as gambling dens.

“Based on our observation, illegal gambling machines are used by drug users as front to justify their presence in the area,” said Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) director Senior Supt. Joel Doria.

According to Doria, illegal drug pushers now pretend to be operating video karera machines in their houses to draw in “players” who were, in truth, drug users.

Doria urged police station commanders under his helm to double their efforts in curbing illegal gambling as this was often used by drug peddlers and users as cover for the sale of illegal drugs.

Previous accomplishments, he said, should make them strive even harder to totally eliminate illegal drugs.

Doria reminded policemen that complacency in their jobs would mean their relief from their posts.

“Kung sakit sa ulo ang pulis, gusto natin tayo ang magdisiplina. Kaya naman nila, eh, pero baka nakakalimot lang. (If they turn out to be headache, we have to discipline them. They can do more but maybe they just have forgotten.) We have to remind them of their duties and responsibilities,” Doria said.

Earlier, Cebu City policemen holding the ranks of Police Officer 1 to Senior Police Officer 4 were relieved from their posts for their failure to stop illegal drugs and gambling.

These cops were now reassigned to other police stations and beat patrol areas.

Not enough

Four months into President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war against illegal drugs and even after the Police Regional Office (PRO-7) was adjudged to have outperformed others in the country, Central Visayas’ top cop is still not satisfied with the performance of his men.

“Kulang pa (Not enough),” was how regional police director Chief Supt. Noli Taliño summed up police efforts in the region following a command conference held at the Cebu City police headquarters in Camp Sotero Cabahug on Thursday.

In a talk with reporters, Taliño said that while police stations, particularly in Cebu City, were achieving results in their anti-drug operations, much work still needs to be done in implementing Project Double Barrel Alpha, the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) newly adopted operation which targets high-profile personalities linked to illegal drug activities.

“Lahat ng police offices (in the region) medyo mababa yung accomplishment. Sa akin, personally, kulang pa (All police offices in the region have a rather low accomplishment. For me, personally, they have not done enough),” Taliño said.

The overall performance of the police stations in the illegal drugs campaign was based on the number of surrenderers and drug suspects arrested; as well as the number of drug personalities killed or “neutralized” for resisting arrest during buy bust operations.

“We are reaping results but we need to further ramp up our efforts by conducting more Tokhang (Toktong Hangyo), Taphang (Tapok Hangyo) and Texthang (Text Hangyo) operations as these efforts can draw more surrenderers,” Taliño said.

A Balik Eskwela program for low-performing cops is now in place to give them refresher lessons on basic police operations.

Those who will be made to undergo the program will be identified by their respective station commanders.

Talisay drugs

In Talisay City, Mayor Eduardo Gullas called for more police buy-bust operations there while admitting that illegal drugs remained rampant there.

“To tell you frankly, I am aware nga ubay-ubay ang drugs diha (drugs are still rampant around Talisay),” Gullas said.

Gullas told Cebu Daily News that he had already identified the villages, including Barangay Tangke, which have illegal drug problems and had even spent his own money to help in the police campaign.

The mayor refused to divulge the amount he personally shelled out for the operations of the Talisay City Police Office.

“I gave them funds, also incentives. This crusade against illegal drugs dili sayon ug dali-dali. Dapat sigehon ni (It’s not easy and it can’t be done quickly. But we should sustain it),” Gullas said.

The mayor also disclosed that they were doing searches inside the Talisay City jail to ensure that no drugs manage to slip in.

Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA-7) earlier arrested Carlos Abalo, said to be a prominent drug personality who allegedly managed three drug dens in Barangay Tangke, Talisay City.

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TAGS: 4th Southeast Asian Creative Cities Network, CCPO, Cebu City Police Office, clever, drug den, drug peddler, Duterte, game, illegal drugs, illegal gambling, illegal gambling machine, Joel Doria, karera machines, peddler, Philippines, President, Rodrigo Duterte, video game

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