MANILA, Philippines - Bugallon Mayor Rodrigo Orduña on Monday said bagmen collected millions of pesos in monthly jueteng payola for the alleged "3 Kings of Jueteng."
In an interview, Orduña said he and several other jueteng operators in Pangasinan allocated millions of pesos in jueteng payola to the “3 Kings”, which allegedly included former first gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, then Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno and a top official of the Philippine National Police.
“Ang binibigyan tatlong hari - may code yan. Hindi naman namin nakakaharap. Hindi namin direktang inaabot,” he told Mornings@ANC.
Orduña declined to identify who served as the bagmen for the 3 Kings. He said it was barangay captain Fernando “Boy Bata” Alimagno who gave the jueteng payola to the collectors.
He said protection money also flowed to Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino, police officials and mediamen.
Meanwhile, the camp of the former first gentleman challenged Orduña to prove his claim that Arroyo and 2 other former officials earned millions of pesos in jueteng payola.
In a statement, Arroyo’s lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said it is regrettable that the former first gentleman’s name is being linked to illicit activities “without any proof other than the say-so of certain individuals.”
"We challenge the accusers of Atty. Arroyo to come up with evidence that will stand up in court, instead of wasting time and energy making up fantasies, which are only good for entertaining children and those who have the mentality of children, but are useless in real life,” he said.
Orduña’s claim is not the first time that a member of the Arroyo family has been linked to jueteng. Whistleblower and jueteng bagwoman Sandra Cam earlier told a congressional inquiry that she personally delivered P500,000 in protection money to presidential son Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo.
No paper trail
In the interview, Orduña admitted he and 3 others served as jueteng operators in the entire province of Pangasinan.
He previously accused Espino of pocketing close to P1 billion in jueteng payola for the past 9 years. Espino has denied Orduña’s claims, saying the allegations are meant to derail his electoral bid in 2013.
Orduña admitted that there is no paper trail linking Espino to the proliferation of jueteng in the province.
He said that while there is no documentary proof for his claims, another witness can attest to his claim that he personally delivered jueteng payola to Espino every week.
"Kung gusto niya ipakita ko kung saan kami nag-uusap dalawa e. Pwede naman yun," he said.
"Sa jueteng kasi, sabihin ng iba diyan na nagmamagaling na kailangan may ebidensya. E iligal ho yan. Lahat ng tatanggap diyan gagawa ng paraan na hanggang maaari walang maiiwang ebidensya lalo yung mga papel na yan. Hindi tatanggap ng tseke yan. Cash to cash lagi. Ang magpapatunay lang dito ako - ako mismo kumukuha ng pera sa kahero at dinadala ko mismo kay Governor Espino. Yun ang totoo," he added.
P1 million a month
Orduña also claimed that he earned only P1 million a month from jueteng operations.
“Kumporme po. May buwan na malakas, may buwan na mahina. Hindi kasi fixed kasi may mga expenses din,” he said, adding that there are no jueteng games during storms and holidays.
The mayor claimed he started out earning only P10,000 a month as a “collector” of jueteng operators before becoming an operator himself.
He also said jueteng operations in Pangasinan stopped altogether after Archbishop Oscar Cruz made an expose about the illegal numbers game in 2010.
Orduña said gambling operators then shifted to jai alai after local jueteng operations were too slow to recover.