Baguio City Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge is conducting the Philippine legal case resulting from the incursion upon a Malcolm Square barangay bingo hall allegedly violating Philippine gambling laws, but in a “motion for inhibition” he is being asked to remove himself from the case.
Concerned representatives from both the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) and the Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) have asked their attorneys to see judge Antonio Esteves, RTC Branch 5’s presiding judge, removed from this legal case.
George Dumawing Jr., chief counsel, and Rudolfo Lockey, co-counsel, filed the motion after Esteves previously dismissed allegations against three bingo operation agents accused by the BCPO and POSD of running a front for jueteng.
Both offline and online bingo games in the Philippines are legal. In 2006, a court ruled in favor of allowing bingo to fund raise for local government autonomy. However, the prosecution asserts that that the doings within a Layden Eatery’s second floor during November 29th was in fact jueteng being disguised as bingo. This is called “bingoteng”.
Of this, prosecutor’s motion declares “In short, if bingo is not played in the manner provided by law, it is still prohibited under Presidential Decree 1602 as an illegal gambling activity.” The prosecutor also questions the “bingo” operator’s motivation.
Bingo in the Baguio City remains controversial. In 2009, the city council approved Resolution 87 s. which declared “The Malcolm Square barangay resolution 15 s. of 2010 runs counter to the said policy direction of the city government of Baguio…The Association of Barangay Council of which [William] Domoguen is a member, did not endorse the conduct of bingo sa barangay fund-raising activity…. By all indications, the activity and operation of bingo sa barangay at the laymen Eatery was jutting. It is [an] illegal number’s game.”
Earlier this month, another Philippines gambling joint was stomped by the Police Special Action Force (SAF). That gambling den was clearly specialized in jeuteng. Although jueteng is an incredibly popular Philippines wagering game, it remains entirely illegal.