Justice secretary, National Security Adviser implicated in death threats to gambling operator

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By William Casis | FilAm Star Correspondent

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV wants the Senate to conduct an investigation into the claims of gambling operator Charlie “Atong” Ang that two Cabinet officials were involved in an alleged plot to kill him due to his gambling operations.

Ang said he received death threats because of the continued operation of virtual jai-alai numbers game through Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation where he serves as consultant and general manager.

He implicated Justice Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre II and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon and other government officials.

Aguirre assailed Ang for fabricating an issue to get back at him because of the Jack Lam issue that shut down the illegal gambling operations last year at Fontana in Clark, Pampanga.

He said Ang should also be investigated for possible tax evasion following the raids conducted by government authorities on gambling dens in Tuguegarao, Cagayan last week.

Esperon dismissed Ang’s allegation as a tall tale. He said and Ang’s impunity on illegal gambling “will be killed,” not him.

Ang said he also received threats from certain police officials surnamed Uyami and Corpus. He said the duo control Small own Lottery (STL) operations in northern regions.

He said his contacts from the National Bureau of Investigation and from the police and military had warned him about the alleged plot to kill him.

Trillanes said he would file a resolution for the Senate to look into Ang’s allegations. “Atong Ang’s highly controversial statements warrant a Senate investigation. I will file a resolution in that regard, once session resumes next week,” said Trillanes in a text message.

Ang has asked President Duterte to save him from Aguirre, Esperon and some retired generals.

He also linked Aguirre to the STL operation through the latter’s brother, Engineer Ogie Aguirre. He said the siblings controlled STL operations from Batangas to Bicol.

He earlier said a congressman, whom he did not name, was Aguirre’s bagman in the Cabinet official’s home province in Quezon.

Asked if he was surprised by Ang’s allegations against Aguirre, Trillanes said, “This could validate Aguirre’s involvement in the BI-Jack Lam extortion-bribery controversy.”

The Senator earlier accused Aguirre as part of a shakedown operation against Lam, whose workers were arrested by the BI in November last year. The BI is under the Department of Justice headed by Aguirre.

The issue was investigated by the Senate after reports that a PHP 50 million bribe money was allegedly given to former immigration officials in exchange for the release of the arrested workers.

Ang earlier alleged that the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office wants Meridien’s operations stopped because of conflicts with STL.

It was reported that big-time gambling lords including Ang are out to destroy Duterte’s war on illegal gambling by conniving with some lawmakers to declare the expanded STL illegal.

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