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Lotto operator, 2 aides cleared of lotteng raps
posted 12-Jul-2019  ·  

The Regional Trial Court has dismissed separate charges against a Virac lotto outlet operator and two of his employees who were accused of running the illegal numbers game of “lotteng” in 2015.

In granting the accused’s Demurrer to Evidence, RTC Branch 43 Presiding Judge Genie G. Gapas-Agbada said that the prosecution failed to establish the facts that would constitute the offense of illegal gambling against Alipio Tan, as coordinator, controller or supervisor, and Aldrian Tan and Ryan Viloria, as collectors or agents.

“…(T)he prosecution failed to demonstrate the mechanics and prove that ‘lotteng’ is an illegal number game, and no one who understands it that could distinguish it from a valid lotto bet was presented to explain the matter,” Judge Gapas-Agbada stated.

It added that, clearly, the prosecution failed to prove that the number combinations written on the pieces of paper, some in a lotto paper, are bets for lotteng and not for valid lotto bets.

Information filed before the Court showed that PO1 Jeffrey Villalon claimed to have placed a bet for lotteng on Sept. 3, 2015 at Alipio Tan’s lotto outlet at Gogon Sirangan.

After securing a search warrant, the police seized the alleged evidence at the scene and charged the trio with violation of the provisions of Republic Act 9287.

During the trial, defense counsel Atty. Maria Theresa Balagtas-Gupo filed the Demurrer to Evidence on the grounds that there was no sufficient evidence to prove the existence of the crime and that the prosecution’s evidence is insufficient to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

The Court agreed, emphasizing that during his testimony, PO1 Villalon could no longer recall who between the two manning the outlet took his bet on Sept. 3, 2015. He also failed to identify the document evidencing his bet made on Sept. 4.

“Likewise, there is no certainty that the integrity of the receipt/evidence has been preserved as no identification was made by PO1 Villalon,” it said, pointing out that the alleged Sept. 4 bet was not even included in the chain of custody form.

The lawman admitted during questioning by Atty. Gupo that he was not present when the team arrested the three accused and when the inventory of evidence was made.

A notebook on which his bet was allegedly recorded was likewise not among the list of evidence recovered during the implementation of the search warrant.

Another team member, PO2 Ramer Trinidad, failed to identify the alleged marked money recovered during the search as the money itself was not shown to the witness.

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