Pangasinan police chief relieved

Rappler.com
Interior Secretary Manuel 'Mar' Roxas II says the relief of Pangasinan police chief Mariano Versoza is a clear message about government's intent to fight jueteng

Vote-rich province Pangasinan will have a new police chief after Senior Supt Mariano Versoza was ordered relieved over his alleged failure to stop jueteng, an illegal numbers game.

Senior Supt Manolito Labador was named as Versoza’s replacement.

Retired Philippine National Police chief Nicanor Bartolome had ordered Versoza’s relief on December 18. Versoza will be transferred to the PNP holding unit in Camp Crame.

Jueteng network

Earlier, Bugallon town Mayor Rodrigo Orduna exposed an alleged jueteng network and identified Pangasinan Gov Amado Espino Jr as among the recipients and beneficiaries of jueteng collections. Espino denied the allegations.

Orduna filed a case of plunder against Espino before the Ombudsman. In a sworn statement, he called Espino, his former patron, the “Big Boss” of jueteng in Pangasinan. He allegedly received P800 to P900 million in jueteng money.

Admitting he himself had received jueteng money, Orduna, a former Army sergeant, described himself as the group’s “trouble shooter.”

While in Congress, Espino allegedly ordered Orduna to collect protection money from jueteng operators in Pangasinan. When Orduna met with the operators, they agreed to give Espino P3 million a month. 

When he became governor in 2007, Espino’s take reportedly increased to P10 million, receiving P2.5 million every Saturday, according to Orduna’s testimony.

Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II praised the relief of Versoza as a “big step” in government’s campaign to stamp out jueteng. He had directed the PNP to investigate Versoza.

The relief of Versoza, according to Roxas, is “meant to send a clear message that we are going all out in the fight against jueteng.” – Rappler.com