BAGUIO CITY – Various sectors and anti-gambling advocates in the city and the capital town of La Trinidad, Benguet are now up in arms against the proliferation of bingo cum drop ball joints in the guise of fund raising activities of the barangays.
After temporarily stopping operations on the first week of June up to the middle part of July, the gambling joints in Kayang, Magsaysay, Dagohoy, Slaughter Compound, Otek, all in Baguio and the newly established bingo cum drop ball joint in Pico successively started their operations amidst the marching orders from higher authorities on the4ir police against gambling.
The gambling joint in Kayang operated by a certain Jasmin which was recently closed after findings on the existence of illegal gambling activities continues to operate right in front of the noses of the police while the Magsaysay and Dangwa drop ball joints operated by a certain Josie or tomboy and a certain Jim allegedly named dropped the name of a retired police general as the one who ordered their operation which is an insult to the integrity and credibility of city officials.
The Slaughter Compound bingo cum drop ball joint operated by a certain Paul was given only fifteen days to operate but it allegedly continues to exist while the Otek bingo cum drop ball joint remains under a certain Ronald or Oldak, who is considered to be one of the alleged untouchable drop ball operators in the city.
The newly opened drop ball joint in Pico, particularly in an establishment formerly used by a son of a politician as his business area, is also administered by Jose and Jim who allegedly use the defunct Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) as their protectors defying the orders for them to secure the appropriate business permits.
When Herald Express got in touch with the retired police general which some of the operators name dropped to be able to freely operate, the police official said that he does not even know those who had been using his name, thus, the police operatives must apprehend all illegal gambling activities within their respective areas of jurisdiction.
All the existing bingo cum drop ball joints are using barangay resolutions for the conduct of bingo games to raise funds for their preferred projects but actually, bingo is just the front of the said joints while drop ball is being done in the secluded places within the joints.
A perusal of the list of those receiving payola from the said gambling joints showed that there are higher officials who receive lower amounts compared to their subordinates while there are 84 media personalities who are allegedly in the take using couriers.
The anti-gambling advocates challenged city and municipal officials to have the political will to put a stop on the gambling operations because the existence of the said joints contribute to the increasing crimes in Baguio and La Trinidad.
In a random interview with taxi drivers, most of them, who were operating at night, claimed that robbery holdup incidents against taxi drivers went down when the gambling joints totally stopped their operations but such incidents resumed when the gambling joints resumed considering that those who lost their money tend to find ways on how they can recover their losses.
They also challenged law enforcers not to be blind about the illegal gambling activities happening around the city because it is their obligation to arrest those involved in the said activities that tend to affect the morals of the people.
Concerned sectors vowed to bring the matter to the attention of national officials if the gambling joints continue to operate using barangay resolutions for fund raising activities as their front because it is not true that only bingo games are being done as drop ball operations are being hidden from the sight of the public.
For over a decade now, the ruling of the Court of Appeals (CA) favoring the barangay fund raising activities of barangays through bingo games had been abused by some barangays in the city as they went to the extent of operating gambling dens with the activities allegedly going beyond the control of those supposed to be regulating the said operations.
The concerned sectors said the failure of city officials to address the proliferation of the gambling joints only means that they are tolerating immoral activities amidst their projection of morality in service.