Bacalzo, Verzosa denies Santiago’s accusations

THE new chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday denied any knowledge or involvement in the “jueteng” equation, which Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago presented in her privilege speech at the Senate last Wednesday.

While denying allegations against him, PNP chief Director General Raul Bacalzo also reiterated the PNP’s re-intensified efforts against the illegal gambling.

In a statement read by PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr., Bacalzo said his appointment as the country’s top policeman was based on merits and not on his close ties with anyone.

“On the equation of Senator Santiago, I must say that in my case, my appointment as PNP chief was not because of my closeness to anybody, much less the DILG secretary. Therefore, the rest of the equation will not compute,” he said.

The PNP chief was referring to the “DILG + PNP= Jueteng” equation, which Santiago presented during her privilege speech.

The senator said in her speech that there was “conspiracy” between the secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the PNP chief, and that the two were “prime beneficiaries” of jueteng.

Bacalzo pledged not go soft against jueteng operators and police officials or personnel involved in the illegal numbers game.

He stressed his “one-strike” policy against jueteng, where any police official caught with jueteng still operating in his area of jurisdiction will be immediately relieved from post.

“We have heard the privilege speech of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago and are appreciative of her concern… We have the same objective: to rid our country of jueteng and all other forms of illegal gambling,” Bacalzo said.

Meanwhile, the camp of former PNP chief, Jesus Versoza, whom the senator said in her speech was receiving around P150 million annually as “payoff” from jueteng operators, dismissed the senator’s equation.

“The alleged share in ‘payola’ is mere mathematical assumptions… (there’s) no proof of actual receipt of money,” Versoza’s legal counsel, lawyer Benjamin delos Santos said. Anthony Vargas

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