Catholic News Service photo
Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz of Lingayen-Dagupan, Philippines, talks to Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno during a Senate inquiry on illegal gambling in Manila in 2010.
Catholic News Service photo
Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz of Lingayen-Dagupan, Philippines, talks to Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno during a Senate inquiry on illegal gambling in Manila in 2010.
Outspoken Archbishop Oscar Cruz said he continues to receive death threats because of his campaign against an illegal numbers racket known in the Philippines as “jueteng.”

The retired archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan is facing Philippine criminal syndicates and insurgents who are known to threaten potential victims by sending black ribbons, flowers, bullets and even coffins. Such warnings are meant to serve notice for a target to change their ways.

“It’s a pity that instead of improving our values we are retrogressing,” Archbishop Cruz said. “I don’t think (that this country) is going anywhere.”

The illegal numbers racket is popular with rich and poor alike. Racketeers earn at least $1 million each day from the game.