ICPO thwarts ‘arbor’ attempts for arrested poker players

By Jennifer P. Rendon

The Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) has acknowledged attempts to “arbor” or intercede for the release of individuals apprehended during the weekend’s anti-illegal gambling operations in the City Proper district.

But Police Chief Colonel Joeresty Coronica said that these efforts were unsuccessful and that their operatives staunchly refused such interventions.

“They knew better nga indi gid magpasugot ang aton mga operatiba nga i-arbor ang mga nadakpan,” he said.

By Monday (April 22), ICPO had filed charges for violating Presidential Decree 1602, which imposes stiffer penalties for illegal gambling, against the 29 individuals involved in an illicit poker tournament on April 20 at Aurora Subdivision, City Proper.

Among the detained were a police officer, a firefighter, and a Korean businessman.

The event’s organizer, 41-year-old Rey Anthony Bayag of Bankers Village, Barangay Tabuc Suba, Jaro, was arrested along with four staff members, a former barangay official, and 19 businessmen.

The operation, conducted by members of the ICPO-City Intelligence Unit (ICPO-CIU), City Drug Enforcement Unit, Iloilo City Police Station 1, Iloilo City Mobile Force Company, and the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, also seized P103,000 in bet money and illegal gambling paraphernalia.

Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Benitez, Jr., CIU chief, reported that the surveillance of the poker tournament was prompted by a complaint from a family member of one of the participants, whose gambling addiction had caused familial strife.

Meanwhile, Coronica said they’re monitoring a poker tournament done during wakes.

“It’s rare that poker is being played during a wake. That’s why we warned a wake in Mandurriao because we received reports that of was organized,” he said.

Coronica has also encouraged the public to report organized gambling done during wakes.