The murder of a young woman has shocked the Philippines. Rizia Mae Pardillo Ycot, 24, was serving her shift as a Small-Time Lotteries (STL) vendor in the city of Cotabato City when she got shot in the head by a heinous criminal. The suspects are the criminal gangs running illegal lottery operations.
STLs are legal lottery booths that offer forms of legal lottery gaming to local customers. Unfortunately, local gangs believe STLs are undermining their illegal gambling operations and have come to detest the booths.
The pressure on STL vendors is, sadly, nothing new. Many people working in the sector have reported having been threatened by gangs on countless occasions. Locals are almost certain that Ycot was shot by a gang member as her assailant did not steal anything. The crime was likely meant to scare other STLs into giving up on their business.
While the local gangs have previously refrained from murdering STL vendors to prove a point, it seems that illegal operators in the Philippines are now ready to do anything if that will keep them in power.
Halting Lotteries Will Allow the Police to Investigate
Now, several weeks after Ycot’s murder, Bruce Matabalao, mayor of Cotabato City, has ordered the temporary shutdown of all lotteries in the city. In the wake of the recent killing, city officials are concerned about the well-being of STL vendors.
The decision to halt STL operations in the city comes as Querubin Manalang, director of the city police, asked Matabalao to take action. Matabalao thus ordered the arrest of anyone selling any type of lottery, regardless if they were authorized to do so or not.
Lotteries will remain shut down until officials form a plan to tackle the issue and investigate Ycot’s murder. Manalang, who proposed the measure, said that the temporary stopping of operations will provide his team with the time it needs to do its job.
Other Recent Developments
In other news, the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) sector recently became the object of public criticism. According to a survey, the majority of Filipinos believe that POGOs are harmful to society and the economy and encourage a sinful lifestyle.
In the meantime, the PAGCOR, a body that regulates gambling in the country, just terminated its contract with an allegedly fraudulent auditing firm. As it turned out, the company, Global ComRCI, had provided fake documents during its application for becoming PAGCOR’s third-party auditor.
The regulator will audit POGOs by itself until it finds a new partner.