Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno denied any involvement in illegal gambling activities, noting that Mayor Alfredo “Dirty Harry” Lim himself approved the operation of bingo games in the city.
This, as Moreno, who was violently arrested during a bingo event on Tambunting Street last Saturday, read a memorandum issued to barangay officials about similar activities dated Jan. 17.
“The fund-raising drive being launched by the Community Foundation Inc. is strongly endorsed by our city Mayor Alfredo S. Lim as it supports our less fortunate and neglected persons with disabilities,” Moreno said in a weekly forum at Diamond Hotel on Monday.
Showing an official receipt, Moreno noted the incumbent mayor even approved the foundation’s plan to sell 50 bingo cards at P10 each by soliciting to every barangay offices in Manila.
“Representatives of the foundation will knock on your door pertaining to your program. The bingo cards can be played at San Andres Sports Complex on February 14 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” he added.
Related story: Isko, 5 Councilors Arrested Over Illegal Gambling
The Manila vice mayor, who is running for re-election under a ticket opposing Lim, went on to criticize the former police chief for implementing double standards in his administration.
“They said bingo games are illegal but we will never (commit violations that) fall under Presidential Decree (No.) 1602,” Moreno explained.
“It was created by (late dictator Ferdinand) Marcos and he made another guidance letter of instruction... that excluded domino and bingo under PD 1602,” he emphasized.
Moreno’s running mate former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada, who is opposing Lim for the mayoral race in Manila, said they will file charges against policemen who arrested his party-mates over the weekend.
Estrada said his party’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP)’s legal team are gathering pieces of evidence that policemen who arrested Moreno’s group committed grave abuse of authority.
Also read: Isko Cries Harassment After 11-Hour Detention
The former leader vowed to run after the police officials, who hurt PMP youth leaders and Manila District 3 councilors were taken to the Manila Police District (MPD) Station 3 on Blumentritt Street, Sta. Cruz at about 5:30 p.m on Saturday.
“The Comelec (Commission on Elections) chairman (Sixto Brillantes Jr.) said there’s no violation that the councilors or any of us committed anything illegal. He said it just this morning,” Estrada said.
Moreno, and Manila District 3 councilors Cristy Isip, Joel Chua, Rey Fugoso, Yul Servo, and Letlet Zarcal were released after an inquest found insufficient evidence against the PMP members nine and a half hours following the arrest.
Moreno said he is still searching the heavens to find out who wanted to put them behind bars but Estrada quipped his running mate will never find out the mastermind behind the incident if keeps on looking up.
“He should be looking down because he (the mastermind) will never get to heaven because he is ‘dirty’,” Estrada said in jest.
In a separate interview, Servo agreed the mastermind behind the incident could be Lim.
“We are still gathering evidence. Because they (police) keep on saying the order came from the higher ups. But the police will not do anything like that without any order from the mayor,” he said.
The US State Department renewed its warning about the risks of travel to the Philippines, in particular to the Sulu archipelago, certain regions and cities of Mindanao and the southern Sulu Sea area. In an update on Wednesday of a travel warning it issued Nov. 20, 2014, the State Department said US citizens should continue to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu archipelago due to the high threat of kidnapping of international travelers and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there. …