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Friday, October 7, 2022

Bacolod: NBI gathering evidence vs. illegal gambling financiers

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Bacolod City – The National Bureau of Investigation is now gathering more evidence against financiers of fake Small Town Lottery (STL) operations, under the name of Vikings Peryahan ng Bayan, in preparation for the filing of charges.

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While he refused to identify the financiers, NBI Bacolod chief Atty. Renoir Baldovino said that they have already an inkling of their identities.

Baldovino confirmed recently the illegal operations of Vikings Peryahan ng Bayan under the guise of STL operations in Bacolod City, as well as in Binalbagan and Sipalay City, was indicated by the positive result of their test bet operations, on August 6.

He clarified that the Super Lucky Beagler Incorporation is the only outfit authorized by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office to operate STL in Negros Occidental.

However, when they conducted their actual operations on targeted betting stations in Binalbagan and Sipalay on Aug.10, Baldovino said they were already closed, noting that they were still open on Aug. 9, according to surveillance operations.

He raised the possibility that the closures are temporary, and operations may resume anytime. The speculation that the operation was compromised is still being determined by the NBI.

Baldovino said they already issued subpoenas to owners of the lot and building where betting stations of Vikings Peryahan ng Bayan were established to explain why they allowed the operations of illegal STL operations.

Last week, a betting station of Vikings Peryahan ng Bayan was raided by NBI operatives at the Libertad Public Market in Bacolod City, leading to the arrest of two persons who managed to immediately post bail of P162,000 and were released from NBI custodial facility on Aug. 6.

Under the provisions of RA 9287, or “An Act Increasing the Penalties for Illegal Numbers Games, Amending Certain Provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1602, and for other purposes,” Baldovino said anyone involved in the operations of illegal STL, including arrested bettors, who are convicted for such an offense, will be imprisoned from 30 to 90 days.

The staff, owner of the lot or building may face six to eight years of imprisonment; eight to 10 years for bet solicitors; 10 to 12 years for coordinator and supervisor; 12 to 14 years for the maintainer, manager and operator; 14 years to 16 years to financier; 16 to 20 years to protectors, as well perpetual disqualification of holding public office, especially those connected in the government; he added.

The three illegal betting stations of Vikings Peryahan ng Bayan reportedly started operations early this month.

We are also validating information that they are operating in other areas of Negros Occidental, Baldovino said. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)

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