Friday, April 27, 2007

Jueteng Curse

Up to now, the present administration has not yet learned a plain and simple lesson: Jueteng is a curse to those who promote and even protect it. The past administration learned it the hard way. The present one however refuses to learn it and it is not altogether improbable that it could eventually suffer the same sad fate as the previous one.

Time and again, the national leadership has been associated with a top jueteng lord especially on the occasion of the 2004 national elections. The senate inquiry on the jueteng plague brought this close collaboration in the open. Now, it has not yet alienated itself from the Vatican of jueteng. The truth is that jueteng is again a close accompaniment of the forthcoming 2007 midterm elections.

Jueteng does not only fool and exploit the poor, neither does it only corrupt many public officials and certain police authorities. Nor does it simply create jueteng lords with their hidden wealth. It flaunts influence and covert workings in the halls of power and might. Most of all, it subverts the electoral system and thereby undermines the democratic system of the country.

Jueteng money funds crooked political candidates, pays for the so-called “command votes” and in particular, buys some vote counters themselves. The illegal numbers game finances likewise illegal acts such as lying, cheating and stealing on the occasion of elections. And the result is in substance the same: the election process becomes readily suspect and easily discredited.

And the loser is eventually the many good people who yearn for public leaders with personal integrity and capacity. But on account of the multi-billion jueteng payolas, the government from the national to the local levels becomes instead filled up with many experts in graft and corruption.

No wonder that there is poverty and hunger, misery and sickness in the land. No wonder that the national debt of the Philippine government scheduled for payment by the Filipino people continues to become bigger. No wonder that surveys keep saying that the administration and its candidates for election continue to be unsellable to the general public.

The record stands that when the Krusadang Bayan Laban sa Jueteng offered the 2004 presidential candidates to sign a commitment against jueteng—be they elected or otherwise—a most striking fact was that the present MalacaƱang occupant refused to sign. This was then revealing, this is now evident.

27 April 2007