MANILA, Philippines – Manila Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno and five other Manila councilors were released Sunday morning by the Manila Police District (MPD) after the court rejected the illegal gambling case against them.
In an interview with DZMM, Moreno said they were released by Manila chief fiscal Elaine Yarra-Cerezo due to lack of evidence.
“According to Chief Fiscal Cerezo, we are being released on the basis of insufficiency in evidence... Sa madaling salita, napatunayan namin na kami ay hindi lumabag sa batas at kulang ang ebidensya, at ang kanilang mga ginagawang ebi-ebidensya, mga planting-planting of evidence,” Moreno said.
Moreno and councilors Joel Chua, Re Fugoso, Jong Isip, Yul Nieto and Let-Let Zarcal were arrested on Saturday for holding a bingo game in Santa Cruz, Manila.
Supt. Ricardo Layug said they confiscated bingo cards bearing Moreno’s name and his running mate, former President Joseph Estrada, who is running for the position of Manila Mayor.
But Moreno said they have been holding bingo games for five years already but were arrested only now. He insisted that they were not violating any laws and that the bingo game was legal.
The Manila Police said it will continue to gather evidence against Moreno and the other councilors.
Lim denies orchestrating arrest
Meanwhile, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim has denied that he ordered Moreno’s arrest due to illegal gambling.
“Wala akong kinalaman doon sa pagkaka-aresto sa kanila,” Lim said. “Eh ‘yun nga, may report daw na nagbi-bingo doon sa Tambunting, eh di pumunta ‘yung mga pulis at pinakiusapan sila na itigil nila kasi labag sa batas iyon eh.”
“Eh ang problema, ayaw nilang tumigil. Anong gagawin ng mga pulis? Sila ang tagpagpatupad ng batas, tapos ako ang dinadamay?” Lim added.
“Ano ba ito, gagawa ka ng krimen tapos 'pag hinuli ka, ang ituturo mo ako? Hinahaluan ng pulitika ito. Hindi maganda iyon. Harapin lang nila ‘yung katotohanan. Eh di kwestyunin nila kung ilegal yung arrest.”
Lim also refuted Moreno’s claim that he has been holding bingo games for five years now.
“Kasinungalingan ‘yan. Nagulat nga ako nung sinabi niya na limang taon na daw niyang ginagawa eh. Wala silang ginagawang bingo. May bingong nangyayari doon sa mga pamilya, sa bahay-bahay. ‘Yung ina-allow ‘yung sa pamilya lang, pero ito open to the public,” Lim said.
“Illegal gambling kung hindi pamilya ang naglalaro. Pag pamilya, exempted. Ibig sabihin naandon kayo sa loob ng bahay, nagkakatuwaan kayo, parang parlor games,” he added.
“Sabi nila, napanood ko sa TV, 2,000 daw ang taong naroon eh. Paano naging family game iyon?”
Moreno has accused Lim’s camp of orchestrating the arrest for political reasons.
Lim sided with the police and commended them for doing their jobs, including arresting those involved in any illegal activity. -- Reports from ANC, DZMM