To this date, it is both fallacious and salacious that it is still PD No. 1602 enacted on 11 June 1978 by the then President Marcos that is still strangely observed on the matter of “Jueteng” and “Masiao”. When these illegal numbers games were then but a “pera-pera” game, the same have now become a multi-billion racket in the country. And yet, the said puny and even funny Presidential Decree is still ardently invoked and adamantly applied to their presently big-time capitalists in the country.
It can be rightfully said that it is this ridiculous PD that in reality and truth caused the emergence of Jueteng from a tiny mouse to a big fat elephant, viz., from a little game to a veritable huge underground gambling industry operated by big-shot capitalists who are backed by their goons with guns and who more specially are protected as well by very generous payolas regularly given to certain key local politicians and police authorities.
Had this PD been more strict and realistic in its penalty provisions against Jueteng, or had it been properly amended now and then to adequately respond to the widespread graft and corruption caused by this particular illegal numbers game, the present situation could be less alarming and shameful. In effect, in Mindanao, “Jueteng” already has had its incarnation under the heading of “Masiao”. They are both gambling. They both dupe their bettors. They both enrich their capitalists. They both have their guns and goons. They both regularly hand protection payolas. They are both social cancers. And they are both thriving distinctly well in the country.
Thus: The inherent weakness of PD 1602 is the intrinsic strength of Jueteng and Masiao in the Country. What is more sad is that the Senate, the Congress, and no less than the President of the Country, are altogether silent about the said illegal numbers games.
The DILG Secretary has gone out officially and publicly against Jueteng and Masiao in the Country. But what neutralizes his efforts is PD 1602 which is nothing less than a blessing to Gambling Lords. This now infamous PD should be discarded for a better law.
21 October 2003