NPC dares Puno to name media linked to jueteng

THE National Press Club of the Philippines dared Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Rico E. Puno to name media practitioners who benefited from the illegal numbers racket jueteng.

In a statement, the NPC said it recognizes Puno’s right to defend his honor, “but he must identify the mediamen he said are involved in illegal gambling or jueteng… and name the public relations man who offered him a P15-million blitz to save his reputation.”

“Although there is no evidence presented to prove the allegations of Undersecretary Puno about mediamen’s participation, it is a reality that it has put in doubt the credibility of the media before the mind of the public. This is a stain on the cloth of innocent journalists,” the organization added.

“It becomes doubly unfair when he did not have only evidence but also he did not specifically name those who are in the take,” the NPC statement said.

Puno has been named by retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz as one of the government officials who reportedly received money from jueteng operators.

Undersecretary Puno said he did not take anything from gambling but he admitted he was visited by several gambling lords and personalities involved in illegal gambling. He also said these persons lobbied to him to spare jueteng, although he claimed he did not give his “yes.” While he said this, he did not identify his visitors.

The official said  there are five groups that are destroying him, identifying these as those belonging to the group of DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, the Samar group referring to the campaigners of the President housed in a building on Samar St., Quezon City, the Balay group referring to the President’s campaigners housed in the residence of vice-presidential candidate Mar Roxas inside Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City, the group belonging to former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and the media.

“Why cannot Puno name the specific names in those groups? The NPC believes that if he cannot do so, the only logic available is: Puno does not tell the truth. He should be fair to the President, to the people who elected the President, and to the mediamen who are mere observers and reporters of what transpired,” the NPC statement said.

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