08 October 2014

Are Police Protecting Street Gambling in Cubao?

Cubao in Quezon City
Aside from the different kidnapping incidents allegedly committed by police authorities, the law enforcement agency also had to content with accusations that those who were sworn to protect the public were also the alleged protectors of illegal activities.

Residents of Cubao in Quezon City were reported last weekend to be protesting the presence of "sidewalk casinos" that they blame as the prime reason behind the rise of petty crimes in the area. Located along Pinatubo and West Point streets, the street level casinos were reportedly frequented by policemen, law enforcers and members of media to get their payoffs.

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Carmelo Valmoria vowed on 21 September 2014 to “stage an operation against the casinos in the coming days.”

A source quoted by The Philippine Star said that the casino operators – Alex on Pinatubo street and Ine on West Point street – have city government permits to run a mini-carnival, but these establishments feature no rides, only tables for bingo and “color” gambling games.

The residents said the Pinatubo street casino operates round the clock while its counterpart on West Point street is open from 5:00 P.M. to 5:00 A.M.

"We could not use the sidewalks anymore because a lot of people are patronizing the casino. The areas are jam-packed, especially during paydays," the residents claimed.

The residents said Superintendent Ramon Pranada was relieved from his post as Cubao police station commander due to the rising cases of crimes brought about by the presence of the casinos.

The casinos were shut down after Superintendent Wilson de los Santos – allegedly a protégé of Valmoria – took over Pranada’s post but they reopened last 16 September after almost “a week of negotiations," a source said.