The jueteng hierarchy remains intact. The jueteng lords are safe and sound. The illegal numbers games are up and about. And there are three salient lies being peddled long since to rationalize or justify this sad state of the country on the matter of illegal gambling.
Lie one: Jueteng is here to remain. It has been in the country for centuries. It has long since been part Filipino life. It is a social reality the country has lived since time immemorial. Any attempt to stop it is but an exercise in futility.
False: Jueteng is readily vincible. If only those in public authority would want to get rid of jueteng, then this is gone for sure. There is no need of bullets and guns, of brute force and martial approach. The official and deliberate will to make jueteng disappear is enough.
The national crusade against jueteng awarded last year some 106 city and municipal mayors who cleansed their places of jueteng. Everyone of them said that there was no jueteng in their cities and municipalities simply because they did not want it. And jueteng was gone.
Lie two: Jueteng is gambling and gambling is already a part of the Filipino culture. In fact, it is said that gambling has already become ingrained in the Filipino psyche. Any effort to eradicate jueteng and other illegal numbers games in the country would go nowhere.
False: Jueteng is a vice. A vice does not become a virtue just because it has aged, it has become common and widespread. Any vice is ultimately the undoing of an individual, a family, a community.
Deceipt and greed, infidelity and dishonesty, graft and corruption have long been with the Filipinos. Cheating in elections, in business, in industries are fixtures of Filipino life. But such long standing agenda do not make them legitimate and acceptable.
Lie three: Jueteng should be legalized. This would make jueteng subject to government control. This would bring money to the public coffers. This would protect the bettors, do away with jueteng lords, stop jueteng payolas.
False: Should Masiao, Tupada, Lotteng, Bookies, Last Two, Letreng and Many other illegal numbers game be also legalized? And since when has government been successful in controlling illegal activities? Since when has government spent well public monies? Since when has government stopped payolas, bribes and other shadowy public deals?
+O.V. Cruz, D.D.
03 August 2005