Gambling remains gambling no matter how legal it becomes. Mere legalization does not change the nature and consequences of vicious realities. Vice does not become a virtue by its mere legalization. This is the truth that does not become a falsehood by human legislation.
Gambling foments greed for the money of others. It promotes indolence, it cultivates dependence on luck. It seeks quick fortune that never comes. It despises toil and industry that bring productivity. When legalized, jueteng in no way changes its inherent socio-ethical liabilities as gambling.
Furthermore, unfortunate are the reasons advanced for the legalization of jueteng: it has been with the Filipinos for a long time. It is hard for the police to eradicate it. It can be a source of much funds for the government coffers.
Marital infidelity has been long since with the Filipinos. Corruption has accompanied the government for a long time. Oppressing the poor has become a practice of long standing in Philippine society. Would the mere passage of time be enough reason to legalize such atrocious practices?
To legalize jueteng because the authorities find it difficult to get rid of it, is a pitiful admission of an incompetent and inutile police force. So many ranks and titles. So much equipments and gadgets. So impressive intelligence funds. Yet, the whole police force is no match in cleaning the country of the jueteng curse! What a social disaster!
Legalizing jueteng to raise government funds is a public declaration of official desperation. When a government takes recourse to gambling to raise public funds, it loses its moral ascendancy to govern. The government might want to know that legalizing abortion, marijuana, child prostitution and other despicable Philippine realities would be a bountiful source of funds for the public coffers. But these simply spell moral bankruptcy of the national leadership.
PAGCOR for the rich and influential, and legalized jueteng for the poor and gullible—this is gambling coming in full circle for the country. This makes gambling the main feature as well as the prime shame of the nation. Quo vadis, Philippines?
25 May 2005