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The Legality of Bingo

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 572
  • Category: Manila

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Whether or not Presidential Decree No. 1602, Prescribing Stiffer Penalties on Illegal Gambling, had been superseded by Republic Act No. 9287, An Act Increasing the Penalties of Illegal Numbers Games, which excluded Bingo among illegal numbers games.

R.A. 9287 primarily amends P.D. 1602 which imposes penalty to any person taking part in all forms of illegal gambling by exclusively increasing the penalties on jueteng, masiao, and last two while leaving other enumerated illegal gambling activities with the same degree of penalties. The former is clear; it does not exclude Bingo among illegal numbers games, it only amends P.D. 1602 by increasing the penalties of the same.

GMA News Online,http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/295465/news/nation/lim-erap-camp-politicizing-isko-moreno-s-arrest, last visited February 21, 2013: Re-electionist Manila mayor Alfredo Lim on Monday accused the camp of his challenger, former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada, of politicizing the arrest of Vice Mayor Isko Moreno over bingo, supposedly an illegal numbers game. Moreno and five city councilors namely Ernesto Isip Jr., Joel Chua, Ma. Asuncion Fugoso, Yul Servo Nieto, and former councilor Manuel Zarcal were arrested for allegedly running a bingo operation. They were released early Sunday for lack of evidence. Both Estrada and Moreno claimed that Lim ordered the arrest as part of his “dirty tricks” against them. Lim said under Republic Act 9287, or “An Act increasing the penalties for illegal numbers game,” bingo is considered an illegal numbers game. According to the law, illegal numbers game constitute “any form illegal gambling activity which uses numbers or combinations thereof as factors in giving out jackpots.”

Estrada, meanwhile, said under RA 9287, bingo has been de-listed as an illegal numbers game. For his part, Manila Police District superintendent Ricardo Layug Jr. said Moreno was not the first person to be arrested due to bingo. Layug denied that they have a political agenda in arresting Moreno. The law also said that government employees or public officials caught as “collector, agent, coordinator, controller, supervisor, maintainer, manager, operator, financier or capitalist of any illegal numbers game” will be penalized with 12 to 20 years of imprisonment or a fine of P3 million to P5 million. These government officials may also face perpetual absolute disqualification from public office. According to Layug, the police had already stopped the bingo before any number were drawn. But upon arriving, Moreno allegedly defied the police orders, asking for a “bolilyo” that contained the bingo numbers despite police presence.

Layug went on to say that Moreno even dared the police to detain him. Moreno did not deny the incident, but clarified that he merely told the police to merely do their job. He added that no one from those playing the game bet any money. He cited Presidential Decree 1602, which stated that illegal gambling should be a game of “chance or skill” with “wagers consisting of money, articles of value or representative of value” at stake. But the same presidential decree specifically cited “bingo and other forms of lotteries” as part of illegal gambling. “The penalty of prision mayor in its medium period with temporary absolute disqualification or a fine of six thousand pesos shall be imposed if the maintainer, conductor or banker of said gambling schemes is a government official, or where such government official is the player, promoter, referee, umpire, judge or coach in case of game fixing, point shaving and machination,” the decree states. — Marc Jayson Cayabyab/KBK, GMA News

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