STL, jai alai conflict may spur violence

NAGA CITY— The fight for control in the operation of the numbers game between small-town lottery (STL) and virtual jai alai could fuel more violence and lead to bloody confrontation.

This, observers say, is after an alleged netter or bet collector of the STL identified as Jojo Gredo y De Los Santos was shot several times last Saturday (April 29) by an unidentified assailant at Barangay San Roque in Iriga City.

An informant revealed that the prime suspect is a person who has strong links with the jai-alai operator in Iriga City.

STL is authorized by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) while jai-alai got its permit from the Cagayan Zone Authority, under Meridien Vista Gaming.

‘Look deeper into the issue’

Interviewed by the BICOL STANDARD on this matter, Bicol PNP Regional Director Chief Supt. Melvin Ramon “Omar” Buenafe said he had already directed PSSupt. Jerry Bearis, Provincial Director of the Camarines Sur Provincial Police Office to look into this matter immediately.

“I have instructed all concerned police personnel to look deeper into this issue. I required them to give attention to all the areas where both STL and jai-alai operate simultaneously and forward to me their report in the soonest possible time,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a separate interview, Bearis said, “We are on top of the situation. We are closely monitoring the activities of both STL and jai alai in all municipalities where they are present.”


Meanwhile, BICOL STANDARD’s source said that the intense competition between STL and jai-alai operators is more pronounced now, especially in the Rinconada Area where the daily collection is notably high.

“In Iriga City alone, jai-alai’s collection ranges from P350,000.00 to P400,000.00 daily for three draws. If we add to that the bets from Nabua, Buhi, Bato, Bula, and Baao, then the sum will really be very high,” the informant who requested not to be named said.

“The local officials get 3% to 5% share of the daily collection. This is apart from the LGU’s legal share from the monthly remittance out of the total collection from their towns which goes directly to the city or municipal coffers,” the informant explained.

“But the situation in Rinconada area has almost reversed now, except in Iriga City. Since the entry of the STL group, majority of the so-called ‘cabos’ of the jai-alai group, whose job is to receive the bets from the netters or corriadores, have already left the group for STL,” he claimed.

“I think the reason why Gredo was shot last Saturday was because he tried to entice the cabos in Iriga City to transfer to STL,” he added.

“Imagine, in Nabua only two or three cabos are left to the jai-alai. They can, of course, recruit new ones but it is difficult to be in this business if you are a newcomer,” he said. Maybe that is the reason why there was an attempt to kill Gredo,” he said.

The Cam Sur situation

Provincewide, jai-alai and STL operators have established their business operations in almost all towns.

Jai-alai, however, stopped their operations in the towns of Lupi, Libmanan, Pamplona, Canaman and Magarao—areas which are now controlled by STL.

Other towns where neither STL nor jai-alai is present are Gainza, Caramoan, Siruma and Garchitorena.

As far as Tigaon and Sagnay towns are concerned, their collections are brought to Goa, Camarines Sur.

The town of Calabanga is the top grosser in terms of collection in the entire province. Based on the latest report, the daily bets coming from this town reaches a high of P200,000.00 to P300,000.00.

During the time jai-alai was still allowed to operate in Libmanan, their daily collection ranged from P500,000.00 to P600,000.00, the source said.

Permits from the LGUs

The STL operators said they need not secure any business permit from the Local Government Unit (LGU) since under the Charter of the PCSO it is clear that they are the only government entity that is allowed to issue permits to this kind of business and regulate this kind of gambling activity.

The jai-alai, on the other hand, goes through the process of securing all the required permits and the payment of local taxes and license fees.