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MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III has directed Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II to build a strong case against “jueteng” operators and coddlers and ensure the safety of the witnesses, a Palace official said.

“The resolve of government to eradicate illegal gambling operations is unwavering,” Presidential Spokeperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement.

The Chief Executive had directed Secretary Roxas to ensure the safety of witnesses who will testify regarding the jueteng operations and the alleged involvement of Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino Jr. in the operations, Lacierda said.

“Secretary Roxas has ordered the reshuffling of police personnel in Pangasinan to determine culpability, if any, and to guarantee that there will be no whitewash in the investigation,” he said.

“We are determined to pursue this case to its logical end under the rule of law and should serve as a warning to syndicates and coddlers of illegal gambling operations to stop or be stopped,” he added.

Secretary Roxas said that two officials, Bugallon, Pangasinan Mayor Rodrigo Orduna and Barangay Captain Fernando “Boy Bata” Alimagno, had linked Governor Espino to jueteng, adding they helped the governor in running the illegal numbers game in the province.

Both officials had earlier filed a plunder case against the governor with the office of the Ombudsman.


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