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Archbishop Cruz rallies flock in fight against jueteng

DAGUPAN CITY, August 11 -- Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz is gearing for a tough battle with gambling lords out to set up a syndicated jueteng operation in Central Pangasinan.

Archbishop Cruz, also former president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, launched the first salvo of opposition through a circular letter to the faithful, which was to be read in all churches and chapels in the Archdiocese during the Eucharistic Celebrations on August 10 and 11, and in all Catholic schools at desig-nated dates and times by their respective directors.

In his circular, Cruz exposed plans of big-time operators, with the help of individuals on their payroll, to organize syndicated jueteng in the provinces of Luzon, and presently targeting Central Pangasinan, which is within the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese.  The strategy involves giving out money in the form of payolas to buy  protection and silence from public officials, non-government organizations (NGOs), the media, and in the form of donations to charitable institutions.

His known staunch opposition to jueteng opera-tions in the province, he likewise revealed, has already made him "the target of vicious gossips by shady characters in the jueteng payroll."  He revealed that overtures had already been made through emissaries, to meet with him "to ask me how much money I want to buy my silence."

The Archbishop appealed to the people to oppose and reject the entry of syndicated gambling in the Archdiocese, calling on all the faithful not to waste hard-earned money on jueteng; public officials, NGOs, charitable organizations, and the media not to accept jueteng payolas; and the clergy and religious men and women, and organizations to hold fast to the moral standing and pastoral policy on gambling.


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