Monday, September 05, 2005

small town lottery

There is enough gambling in the country,” The Presidential Spokesperson recently said this. Many heard it loud and clear. People of good will were glad to have been told the truth.

He must have noted the corruption and wickedness brought about by gambling. He must have felt that gambling strongly cultivates indolence and dishonesty. The Presidential Spokesperson thus said enough is enough.

There is PAGCOR for the wealthy and the influential. There are lotto and bingo for the middle class with money to throw away and the time to lose. There are jueteng, masiao and other illegal numbers games for the poor and the destitute. This is gambling for all people. There is gambling all over the land.

There was even the contemplated infamous bingo combo as a replacement of jueteng. Yet, it is also jueteng in substance supposed to be clothed with legality. This was exposed for what it was. And it seems that it has been shelved at least for the time being.

But now, there is this proposed “small town lottery” once again. It is meant as a shameful substitute for jueteng. But just the same it is also a corrupt and corrupting numbers game as jueteng. It was already tried before and proved to be a big failure. But it is said that there is now an effort to “perfect it”. Those who say this underestimate the vicious ingenuity of seasoned gambling moguls and there cohorts.

Something must be wrong somewhere in this situation. There is the official derive to get rid of one form of gambling only to introduce another way of gambling. There is the resolve to get the money of the poor simply to fill-in the pocket of the gambling oligarchs and their corrupt beneficiaries. The absence of available decent jobs is responded to by the abundance of gambling from top to bottom of Philippine society.

Much more disturbing is the thought that when a vice is legalized, this becomes a virtue. There is also the thinking that no holds are barred when government wants to have more money which is anyhow lost to who knows where and what.

There is enough gambling in the country”. Would that the good Presidential Spokesperson be not once again betrayed and shamed by the one he speaks for.

5 September 2005