Many odious things can be said about gambling. It is an activity that brings shame, creates troubles, causes problems. The truth is that it is a dangerous reality that comes with a dreadful 3-G tripod: gambling. Guns. Goons.
And this is true of the so-called “legal” as well as known illegal gambling: PAGCOR and jueteng. Both of them have a cloak and dagger component. Both of them are accompanied by shadowy characters and fatal by-products.
Gamblers with unpaid debts are threatened. Persons who know too much disappear. Individuals denouncing it get death threats. Media practitioners crusading against it are killed.
That is why PAGCOR is like a disease so much unwelcome by communities aware of the social evils it brings. More recently there was a Binondo that drove it away. Before that, there was Baguio that stopped its attempted incursion. And the same happened in other places.
That is why jueteng has to give many and huge payolas to operate. It has to buy the protection of police officials. It has to buy the tolerance of public authorities. That is why when it is neither tolerated nor protected, there is no organized jueteng in a place.
It is worth asking therefore why the government fervently wants the corporate gambling life of PAGCOR extended. In the same way, it should be also asked why the government has not lifted a finger to really stop jueteng.
Repeatedly the government proudly announced its resolve to get rid of corruption in the country. Recently the government loudly claimed it was time for a change.
Yet it has done nothing really substantial to stop jueteng which is the source of big corruption. Neither has it even considered dissolving PAGCOR as a part of a social-moral change in the country.
The government says one thing yet does something else. It proposes something yet does nothing about it. This posture has a name: duplicity.
17 January 2005