GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/25 June) — Police operatives arrested an alleged “big time” illegal gambling financier and seven other persons in separate raids in the house of a councilor-elect in Polomolok town in South Cotabato and a businessman’s house in Koronadal City.
Chief Insp. Maximo Sebastian, chief of Region 12 police’s special investigation and detection team (RSIDT), said Tuesday they launched the operations on Saturday at the residence of an elected municipal councilor of Polomolok town and a businessman in Koronadal City who were tagged as among the top financiers and operators of the “last two” illegal numbers game in the area.
The raids, conducted by virtue of a search warrant issued by a local court, were led by operatives from the RSIDT and the regional police’s public safety battalion, he said.
Sebastian said that during the raid at the house of Polomolok councilor-elect Bernie Palencia, they recovered around P100,000 of suspected bet money, a counting machine, a laptop, tally sheets and several other paraphernalia supposedly used in “last two” operations.
Palencia, who is reportedly in Manila, was not around during the raid but six persons, who claimed to be either a household worker or a member of his staff, were arrested.
In Koronadal City, Sebastian said they arrested alleged “last two” financier Glenn Sinoy and another relative in a separate raid at his house.
Recovered during the operation were around P200,000 worth of bet money, various “last two” paraphernalia and a caliber .45 handgun, he said.
“Last two” is an illegal numbers game based on the last two digits of the winning number combination of the daily lotto draw of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
Sebastian said Palencia and Sinoy were among the alleged illegal gambling financiers monitored by the regional police.
Palencia, who owns some businesses in Polomolok, ran as an independent candidate and won a seat at the municipal council in the last May 13 elections.
Sebastian added that Palencia was arrested in the past in a similar raid at his residence that yielded various illegal gambling paraphernalia and other vital evidences.
“We confirmed that their operations even extend outside of Region 12,” Sebastian told ABS-CBN General Santos.
Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
Prior to the operations, Sebastian said they conducted intelligence and surveillance operations on the supposed illegal activities involving the two personalities.
“We received some vital information regarding their activities that we could not just set aside. So we immediately applied for a search warrant to show them that we are serious in our drive against illegal gambling,” he said.
The Police Regional Office 12 earlier stepped up the campaign against illegal gambling operations, especially of “last two” that noticeably became rampant in the last two years.
Sebastian said they are preparing the filing of appropriate charges against Palencia, Sinoy and other suspects in connection with their alleged involvement in “last two” operations. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)