GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/30 July) – Police operatives here arrested Thursday at least 26 suspected illegal gambling bettors and seized alleged paraphernalia for an illegal numbers game in a raid at a house owned by a sister of boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao.
Chief Supt. Felicisimo Khu, Region 12 police director, said Friday joint elements from the city police’s Investigation and Detection Management Section (IDMS), Public Safety Management Company and police station number 04 swooped down on the house of Isidra Pacquiao-Paglinawan in Barangay San Isidro here that allegedly served as operations base of the “last two” illegal numbers game in the area.
Armed with search warrant no. 10-59 issued by Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 35 Judge Oscar Noel, Khu said the raiding team allegedly found the suspected “last two” bettors in the act of possessing various illegal gambling materials and collected cash bets when they conducted the raid past 1 pm Thursday.
“Based on the evidences recovered by our operatives, it was confirmed that the house was indeed being used for illegal gambling activities,” Khu told reporters.
The police official said they earlier subjected Paglinawan’s residence to surveillance following a tip from concerned informants who alleged that suspicious activities were taking place inside the house.
After confirming the tip, Khu said they immediately sought the issuance of a search warrant from the RTC here.
During the raid, Khu said the police team headed by Deputy City Director for Operations Supt. Rolly Octavio specifically recovered P33,781 of suspected collected cash bets and assorted illegal numbers game paraphernalia such as stamp pad and stamp with markings “ground zero,” notebooks and ledgers of cash flows, several mobile phones and calculators.
Khu said the seven-time world boxing champion’s sister, Isidra, was reportedly out when police operatives raided her residence but stressed that they are not discounting her possible involvement in the illegal activity.
Rep. Pacquiao, who was reportedly attending the birthday celebration of their father Rosalio at a nearby house then, arrived at the scene during the raid.
The boxing champion expressed surprise with the conduct of the raid and the recovery of the illegal gambling paraphernalia saying he had no idea of what was happening there.
But he immediately assured that he will not interfere in the police investigation on the matter even if it involves his sister.
“I will personally look into this matter. If it turns out that my sister is involved and liable for it then she should be punished,” he told reporters.
Pacquiao’s lawyer Giovanni Mata, who also arrived at the scene, said they did not interfere with the police investigation and allowed the operatives to just proceed with the documentation of the alleged evidences they recovered.
“On our part, we will seek legal remedies to quash the search warrant so that these supposed recoveries would not be rendered admissible as evidences,” he said.
“Last two” is an illegal numbers game where the winning combination is derived from the last two digits of the winning number combination of the daily lotto draw of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
Khu directed in April an intensified crackdown against illegal gambling and illegal drug activities, which have reportedly become rampant in the area.
He specifically ordered each police station to launch at least four successful anti-illegal gambling and two anti-illegal drug operations every month. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)