Cops collar 72 volleyball players, bettors

By: Alven Marie A. Timtim - Reporter/CDN Digital | March 07,2020 - 01:37 PM

A total of 72 men who were arrested while playing and placing their bets on a volleyball game that was played in a vacant lot in Barangay Ermita, Cebu City will face illegal gambling complaints that will be filed against them on Monday, March 9, 2020.| Alven Marie Timtim

CEBU CITY, Philippines -Policemen under the Regional Intelligence Division (RID) of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) and the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) arrested 72 individuals whom they caught playing volleyball and those who placed their bets on the game that was held in a vacant lot in Barangay Ermita at around 3 p.m. on Friday.

Police Captain Romeo Caacoy Jr., RID chief, said that they had been getting complaints on the disruption that the afternoon games would cause on classes at a nearby school.

After conducting a weeklong surveillance, Caacoy said they also learned that spectators would place their bets on the ongoing game.

“Ang illegal gambling usa sa mga top priority sa Philippine National Police (PNP). Ang tanan nga duwa basta apil na gani og kwarta, mahimo na na silang sugal. Bisag unsa nga sports, billiards, basketball, volleyball, any sports basta mo pusta na gani na, apila na siya sa Presidential Decree 1602,” said Caacoy.

(Illegal gambling is a top priority of the Philippine National Police. Any game that involves money can already be considered as gambling. When bets are placed even on sports like billiards, basketball, volleyball and any other sports, that can already be considered a violation of Presidential Decree No. 1602.)

Caacoy said they confiscated at least P30,000 worth of cash used as bets during their operation on Friday.

The men arrested for illegal gambling in Barangay Ermita are now crowding the stage area of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) compound. | Alven Marie Timting

The arrested individuals were brought to PRO-7 located along Osmeña Boulevard in Cebu City and were allowed to occupy the stage area of the police camp.  They slept on mats and cardboards Friday night.

Relatives of the arrested individuals trooped to the police camp Friday night but were barred from entry.

Caacoy said that complaints for the violation of Presidential Decree No. 1602 or a Decree Prescribing Stiffer Penalty for Illegal Gambling are set to be filed against the arrested individuals on Monday, March 9.

Robin, 40, said that he was watching the volleyball game when the police team arrived.

While holding back his tears, Robin, a resident of Barangay T. Padilla, admitted that he would normally place bets of P100 to P200 on the game, “but it was just a small amount.”

He said that placing a bet on any sport is “part of the game that could not be avoided.”

“Sa kadugay na anang volleyball-an, gi inform nalang unta mi nga undangon na kay daghan na ang nang reklamo. Dapat sauna pa lang na undang na unta na. Na suprise nalang gyud mi nga hasta kaminga manan-away gi apil og dakop,” said Robin.

(They should have informed us that the holding of the volleyball game should already be stopped because of mounting complaints.  They should have told us that before.  It came as a surprise that even spectators of the game were arrested.)

Robin said he has made it a habit for about eight years now to watch volleyball games in Barangay Ermita before he would head home to T. Padilla from his workplace in Barangay Banilad.

Mario, an online seller from Minglanilla, said that joining the volleyball game was his way of doing away with illegal activities. He had been playing volleyball with some friends in the area since 1989.

“Nasagmuyo lang gamay sa gobyerno ba, kay di man nato na ika limod nga naa gani laing problema bitaw bisag ang sugal naa man gihapon, ang tari naa man gihapon, ang drugs naa man gihapon. Pero kami nga nag likay mi ana, ari mo sa sports. Wala mi magdahom ng ang sports nga volleyball apil og dakop,” said Mario.

(I cannot help by feel dismayed because it cannot be denied that gambling like cockfights and even illegal drugs continue to proliferate. But we are here for sports. It never occurred to me that we will one day get arrested for playing volleyball.)

Caacoy said that anything that already involves money is considered as gambling.

He is reminding Cebuanos to refrain from engaging in illegal gambling activities to avoid arrest.

Police Brigadier General Albert Ignatius Ferro, PRO-7 director, earlier told policemen in the region to go after illegal gambling activities here. / dcb

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TAGS: betting, Ermita, PD No. 1602, PRO-7 compound, RID, volleyball game

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