Friday, August 11, 2006


By its title, the film “kubrador” focuses its story on the life—the hopes and fears—of a collector of jueteng bets from many poor people in many poor places. It is a trying and tiring way of life, a pitiful way of living. Jueteng collector poor though dedicated, honest though much needy. In short, the main character in the film appears admirable and even heroic.

The basic reason for such a character appreciation is based on the shameful and detestible truth that the jueteng “kubrador” is a well exploited figure in the jueteng syndicate. The collector of jueteng bets plus the bettors themselves are usually poor people. And it is their poverty that makes them willing victims of exploitation by gambling operators. Poor they all are and poor they all remain.

It is their exploiters—the capitalists, many local officials and police authorities who are jueteng protectors—who are the real and big beneficiaries of jueteng bets made by bettors and taken by the “kubrador”. That is why jueteng appears to be invincible. That is why the so called “jueteng lords” seem immortal. It is definitely not the jueteng bet collectors that make it so, but the vicious jueteng protectors and the greedy beneficiaries.

The “kubrador” is at the bottom of the heap in the jueteng hierarchy. Made a slave of the jueteng trade, it is not difficult to make a pitiful and touching story about this character. The jueteng bet collector is certainly not altogether to blame being but twice a victim of poverty and of exploitation.

It would be truly challenging and interesting if a true-to-life film could be made about a “jueteng lord”, making this appear pitiful and admirable. It would take a good amount of big lies and many twisted moral values to produce a make-believe film of a noble and lovable “jueteng lord.”

How can this administration speak with a big show and glow about mega this and super that when it does not even dare counter the jueteng syndicate. How can the national leadership claim pious superiority when it deliberately promotes the vice of gambling through PAGCOR and the PCSO? No wonder then that both PAGCOR and PCSO are placed directly under Malacañang control.

+O. V. CRUZ, D.D.
14 August 2006