Palace urges Cruz anew to name ‘jueteng’ coddlers

Posted at 09/15/10 7:51 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang renewed its call on Wednesday for retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz to identify high-ranking government officials involved in the illegal numbers game or “jueteng”.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said Cruz can relay the information to President Benigno Aquino III in private.

She also said that Aquino sees the retired prelate as an ally in the campaign against illegal gambling.

“I think it is a concern which is why Archbishop Cruz should give us the names. I think everybody wants to know who these people are in case there is really something behind these allegations,” she said. “We said from the beginning that we do not have sufficient information on these allegations. Of course, that is different from our willingness to investigate.”

Valte added that the Palace does not consider Cruz’s refusal to divulge names as part of a campaign to undermine the Aquino administration.

“There are security concerns. We have seen several of these people who have already been, well, in the case of Boy Mayor, he was killed over this, I assume,” she said.

She said Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda has already offered to help Cruz gather evidence against the alleged jueteng coddlers.

“I don't recall the President saying that jueteng is not a priority. I recall him saying that apart from jueteng, there are other priorities. I don't consider it as a policy shift,” Valte stressed. “The fight against jueteng is one of the many priorities.”