It is not really a secret that the immediately previous administration – with its well-chosen and much rewarded allies in the two other branches of government – has apparently demonstrated its definite and defined competence particularly in the following three main agenda – the living reality of which are its lamentable legacy to the People of the Philippines: One, the institutionalization of widespread graft and corrupt practices. Two, the incarnate nonchalance on illegal drug manufacture, distribution and use. Three, the official affirmation and endorsement of gambling in the Republic. The incumbent administration is definitely not having fun in neutralizing the said three major socio-ethical aberrations. In fact, it is receiving not only defiance and resistance but also understandable opposition and ill-will for so doing. When wrong has become the normal, it is anything but easy to replace it with what is right.
Specifically on the matter of gambling, this has special reference to Casinos with its On-Line branches – something recently brought to the attention of the general public with even a good number of therein actually involved. It also has particular relevance to the infamous – covetous, odious, vicious – Jueteng in all its different forms and different nomenclatures as well. So it is that it has become irrelevant if gambling – be this legal or illegal – is infallibly associated with vice not virtue, with cheating not honesty, with deception, not integrity. Time and again, voices were raised against gambling. Repeatedly, pleadings were made to clean the Country from gambling. But the same previous administration went its merry way – coming out even with the then already infamous hurrah of “Daang Matuid”.
So it is that considering the social evil and amoral value system brought about by gambling, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) itself recently issued a Pastoral Statement with the heading “Blessed be the nation whose God is the Lord!” (Psalm 33:12). Among other supplications, it says: “We appeal for concerted police and local government efforts to destroy the web of illegal gambling in our barangays, towns, and cities. We re-state our previous Statements denouncing illegal gambling in all its forms and opposing its legalization. We must vigorously combat the expansion of organized and systematic legal gambling, such as e-bingo, small town lotteries, and casinos.” (22 November 2016)
Those who think that casinos are but a “game” – considering the interesting translation of “PAGCOR” as “Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation” – even such a cover-up alone of downright vicious corporate gambling already exhibits the shame and hypocrisy behind gambling advocated and promoted particularly by the previous government itself – with the present one apparently still remaining rather neutral about. So it is that to writing, there still are no less than 35 operational Casinos all over the Country – not to mention its quasi numberless “On-Line” affiliates here and there.