Linggo, Pebrero 26, 2017

Why this jueteng- like- game was grounded at the CA, SC?

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

When I told last week a fellow columnist that politicians and police officials could flash a smile because I exacted from Dagupan City’s chief of police Superintendent Neil Miro, my radio guest, who told me that the all-out gambling war of President Rodrigo Duterte spared Jai-Alai, a number game played like jueteng, of Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation (MVGC) because it has court injunction from the Court of Appeals.
Image result for Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation (MVGC)
The columnist disputed my declaration by insisting Jai-Alai was part of Duterte’s police juggernaut target.
I doubt his statement because a court’s injunction is, well, an injunction that the executive body cannot supplant.
Where did you read it?” I posed with great curiosity since I have been cutting my teeth on illegal number games since I became a media man.
Philippine Star,” he told me.
After I arrived home I Google searched his statement since some police officers and elective official publicly declared that Jai-Alai, a P10 million a day or P3.6 billion  a year churning endeavor in Pangasinan, is immune for raid by law enforcers.
After several searches through the world wide web, I could not see any news item from the internet that could collaborate the columnist’s pronouncement as mandated by Executive Order 13 or strengthening the fight against illegal gambling and clarifying the jurisdiction and authority of concerned agencies in the regulation and licensing of gambling and online gaming facilities, and for other purposes.
The continued existence of Jai-Alai baffled me.
Former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Chair Erineo Maliksi accused last year PCSO board members led by then General Manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas II who allowed STL to be co opted by “jueteng” lords.

A report by the National Bureau of Investigation said STL operators had deprived the government of P50 billion in earnings.
What intrigued me was the temporary restraining order (TRO) and injunction for several years (Were TRO and injunction should be solved within 60 days or a year?- MCO) in favor of Jai-Alai that surprisingly was “stranded” at the Court of Appeals (CA) and the Supreme Court.

Here’s the timeline about the brouhaha’s that perplexed for several years me and many kibitzers.

March 23, 2011: The Regional Trial Court in Aparri Province favored Meridien on the latter counter-petition that it was legal. The former issued a 72-hour initial TRO on March 21. This was extended by the RTC by 17 days on March 23.

August 18, 2011: CA dismissed the findings of the Aparri, Cagayan’s RTC. But issued a temporary restraining order and an injunction order against the Games & Amusement Board in favor of Meridien.

2011: MVGC petitioned the CA’s Special Sixth Division for a 60-day TRO to prevent the Department of Justice and the Department of Interior & Local Government from enforcing a joint memorandum order directing law enforcement bodies to crack down on Jai-Alai.

October 13, 2011: Games and Amusement Board (GAB) cited it has not issued any permit or license to operate the Jai-Alai and issued a cease-and-desist order against MVGC.

September 2012: The Court of Appeals, Inquirer quoted, allowed gaming station operator MVGC to operate its betting and gaming stations within the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Free Port.
Voting 3-2, the appeals court division of five through Associate Justice Samuel Gaerlan said that the authority of the GAB does not extend inside the Cagayan Special Economic Freeport Zone.
However, the appeals court, citing judicial courtesy did not rule on the legality of the Meridien’s off fronton betting stations because it was pending with another division of the Court of Appeals.

Inquirer January 18, 2016:
Laguna Congressman Dan Fernandez noted that Meridien’s operations would have been shut down as far back as 2011 for operating outside the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority’s jurisdiction if not for a temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court allowing it to continue operations outside CEZA’s boundaries.

MVGC counsel Angelo Santos said in a statement that while his client’s principal gaming operation of Jai-Alai was actually based in Cagayan province, its satellite offices located in various provinces were merely betting stations, governed and under the control of concerned local government units.
He said company records show that MVGC’s operations have LGU permits and endorsements from the Sangguniang Panglungsod and Panlalawigan in addition to the license issued by the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority.
In addition, MVGC also possesses a valid license from the GAB since 2011. Its pelotaris and jai-alai personnel are under GAB supervision, he said.
According to Congressman Fernando, Meridien was lording in 12 to 14 provinces that include the mammoth 4 cities and 44 towns’ Pangasinan where the PCSO has been locked out of setting up an STL franchise.
He said, as quoted by the Inquirer, that while the PCSO’s STL operations in 14 provinces had remitted P3.2 billion in annual revenues to the government in the last nine years, Meridien has paid zero-revenues to the government for its Virtual Two game largely because it is based in a free port whose perks include tax exemptions.

To fully understand the nuances of this game of chance, please read my previous article (click: Move-OutJueteng, Meridian, PCSO’s Peryahan Coming) how this number game’s fare.

(You can read my selected columns at and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too at

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