Wednesday, December 08, 2004

interview about jueteng

Reporter: Yesterday the national dailies carried your observations specially about Jueteng in the Country. You sounded angry. You even made mention of Malacanang. Why do you dislike Jueteng so much?

OVC: Jueteng is considered illegal and immoral. Yet public officials and police authorities appear “campante” about it. And this is true even for Malacanang itself.

Reporter: That is a serious accusation.

OVC: I am not accusing. I am just saying what I know.

Reporter: What do you know?

OVC: Pampanga was where I was once assigned. Mr. and Mrs. Bong Pineda are from Lubao, Pampanga. This is also the place where the President traces her ancestral roots and Mr. Pineda is known for his Jueteng capitalization. Remember the legislative hearing where Mr. Pineda was summoned to? Remember when Mrs. Pineda as well was thereafter called to the hearing because her husband seemed to be missing. She was asked to pivotal questions. First, she was asked where her husband was. She answered she did not know exactly where but that he was somewhere abroad having a hair transplant! Second, she was asked if she knew the then Vice President Mrs. Arroyo. She answered “No!”. This was funny because it is rather well known specially in Lubao that Mrs. Pineda and Mrs. Arroyo are close friends, going even abroad together every now and then. Please verify this. Far it is from my intention to malign anyone. I could be all wrong. So, please check this item out for yourself.

Reporter: I remember you used to say in your statements to the media about Jueteng, that the President was unusually silent about Jueteng. Are you saying that what you just said was the reason for that?

OVC: I simply noted her silence. Why? You check it. OK?

Reporter: What do you think will I find out?

OVC: You are naughty. I am not betting!

Reporter: Ok, ok. Now, back to my original question. Why do you dislike Jueteng so much?

OVC: The primary reasons are because it fools the poor bettors, it causes extensive corruption, it enriches and empowers its capitalists. This is precisely the reason why they are called “Jueteng Lords” at par with no less than “Drug Lords”.

Reporter: Please explain?

OVC: Jueteng is sadly patronized by the poor who are pitifully fooled by the thought of instant wealth. For the very few who win something, thousands lose their sweat money. Meantime, it is the Jueteng capitalists who become rich and powerful. Their title “Lord” means precisely that. The poor become poorer while they in turn emerge billionaires. Is that not abominable?

Reporter: What about the corruption you say that Jueteng causes?

OVC: The equation is simple: Jueteng payolas equal corruption. Jueteng corrupts many public officials and police authorities, making these deaf and dumb about the illegal numbers game. Remember the former President? It was jueteng payolas that started his big fall.

Reporter: What you do think therefore should be done?

OVC: Before I answer that, may I say something else in addition to what I just said?

Reporter: Please do.

OVC: If illegal drugs influence politics, the illegal numbers game of Jueteng does the same. Just as drug money makes or unmakes politicians specially during elections, Jueteng payola does the same. Is that not sickening?

Reporter: So, what do you think should be done to clean the Country of Jueteng? I mean, do you have any concrete recommendation that our government may consider?

OVC: Yes. Just as we got rid of the Marcos regime, we also have to get rid of the Marcos PD number 1602.

Reporter: What do you mean?

OVC: The law against illegal numbers games must be updated. It should be attuned to the gravity and extent of the Jueteng racket now obtaining in the Country.

Reporter: What do you mean?

OVC: There should be much higher penalties for these infamous Juetengeros. And these penalties should be in terms of big fines and long imprisonment. Not either fine or imprisonment — but both.

Reporter: Would that really get rid of Jueteng?

OVC: Well, probably not completely. But it is a justice call. A big wrong doing rightfully demands a big penalty. It is incongruous that a dangerous vice or a lucrative racket could be neutralized by a mere tap on the shoulder.

Reporter: How about legalizing Jueteng which is what some common people as well as some legislators recommend?.

OVC: This is a shameful admission that our local officials and police forces are all inutile. This would be the start of legalizing everything wrong, anything vicious that the government is incapable of stopping. And this is both a social disaster and a moral farce. Furthermore, something errant cannot be made upright simply by human legislation. Making killing, stealing, raping “legal” certainly does not make it moral. The attitude of simply legalizing evil and vice we cannot stop, is tantamount to confessing we are already a lost people, a sick race, an unredeemable Country. I feel sad saying this.

Reporter: That was a strong statement.

OVC: However you understand and qualify it, true it remains. Bitter, yes, but still true.

Reporter: Thank you for granting me the interview. Your stand is clear and firm. Thank you.

24 October 2003