SECRETARY Antonio Villar Jr., breaking his silence on jueteng, said he is appalled that “some influential people” are supporting candidates involved in the illegal numbers game in Pangasinan.
Villar, chairman of Dangerous Drugs Board, said he is not happy with what’s going on in his own home province where, he alleged, money from illegal gambling operations is tipping the scales in favor of some candidates for the May 13 elections.
“The main issue here is jueteng money used by politicians to be re-elected,” he said as jueteng money is a rich source for campaign funds, especially for incumbent officials.
Villar also questioned why several mayors in Pangasinan issued a permit for jai-alai operations, which is merely a cover-up for jueteng.
“Why? Are they allowed to issue gambling permits?” he asked.
Villar also questioned the lack of transparency on how much taxes are being paid in every town or city in Pangasinan where jai-alai is operating.
“‘How much goes to the pockets of politicians like the mayors and how much goes to the coffers of the local government units?… Obviously few officials are enriching themselves because of such illegal numbers’ game,” he continued.
“Come on. Once and for all, let’s end this hypocrisy,” he said not masking his anger in an interview with the PUNCH.
Villar also urged President Benigno Aquino III to put a stop now on jai-alai, jaiteng or jueteng operations in Pangasinan.
“Mr. President, this is not the Tuwid na Daan that you want for our country,” he said.
Villar said once these illegal operations are stopped, there would be a level playing field for all candidates in the May polls.
He said the reason why mayors bow to the wishes of top officials in the province is because “they do not want to lose the goose that lays the golden egg”.—Eva Visperas