Shape of things to Cam
Just a few days ago, one fabulous name in the illegal numbers game “jueteng” resurfaced after long years of low profile: Atong Ang.
He reportedly wanted to control the PCSO small town lottery, or STL, designed to compete with jueteng.
From its start, STL was the exclusive operation of PCSO, unlike the other lotto which was contracted to a Malaysian group in the time of President Ramos.
Actually PCSO general manager Alexander Balutan volunteered to media the info on the offer of Atong Ang, who denied it, even calling Balutan a liar.
Balutan said Atong Ang made the offer to him and to former PCSO chair Jose Jorge Corpuz.
It so happened that Corpuz resigned recently. According to my contacts, he suffered a stroke. Doctors had told him to avoid stress, including controversies.
Reports said Atong Ang had a meeting with Corpuz at the PCSO office, although the reports did not say what they talked about.
Interestingly, the reports also mentioned another famous jueteng personality, PCSO board member Sandra Cam.
She was the jueteng bagwoman who claimed in Senate investigations that she had delivered money to relatives of former President Arroyo.
She reportedly claimed last year she would become a Cabinet member in the administration of the motorbiking Duterte Harley, although he later said there was no vacancy in his Cabinet.
She nevertheless was able to join the PCSO board last month, immediately making noises in media about the P6-million Christmas party of PCSO for its employees, claiming Duterte Harley had told her to be his “eyes and ears” in PCSO.
All the time, Cam did not deny that she had arranged what was a mere “courtesy visit” of Atong Ang with Corpuz. You know—it was just all about the shape of things to come in PCSO!
Call it business meeting or courtesy call, Atong Ang really had personal interests in the STL.
During the Aquino (Part II) administration, PCSO was a war zone between its chair, Ireneo “Ayong” Maliksi, and general manager, Jose Ferdinand Rojas II, who were fighting over the STL.
It was known then that Maliksi, a former governor of Cavite who, by the way, also got involved in controversies regarding the LRT 1 extension project, wanted to block STL operations in certain provinces. Well, those were only the provinces where jueteng thrived.
In the anti-STL projueteng group of Maliksi was said to be Atong Ang, named in intelligence documents as the jueteng operator in 11 provinces during the previous administration.
Reports said the group of Atong Ang operated openly in Pangasinan, with the provincial police (courtesy of Superintendent Ferdinand de Asis) naming his company, Meridien Vista Gaming, as the leading operator.
Now, Meridien Vista Gaming only has a franchise to operate jai-alai fronton and off-fronton betting stations in Cagayan free port.
By the way, Atong Ang catapulted to the attention of national media about 20 years ago during time of ousted President Joseph Estrada, who reportedly assigned Atong Ang to handle the legalization of jueteng.
During the Aquino (Part II) administration, however, PCSO chair Maliksi reportedly fought with Rojas, because Maliksi wanted to overturn STL operations in —where else—Pangasinan.
So why would Cam, who proclaimed in media that she was directly connected to Duterte Harley, bring a man like Atong Ang for just a courtesy visit to PCSO officers?
Under the new management, PCSO reportedly raised the STL take to some P16 billion last year —from less than P6 billion a year during the Aquino (Part II) administration.
It also expanded the STL operations to 63 provinces.
In a way, PCSO was on its way to killing this scourge known as jueteng.
Jueteng operators would not like that! This is big money after all!
Reports said PCSO found Ang’s offer a bit funny: something like P200 million a month for the P16 billion a year STL.
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