By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte is thinking of keeping jueteng, for now, to keep the economic activity in communities going if he can’t end the illegal numbers game.
Duterte, in a speech in Davao City Friday evening, raised the idea after he reiterated that he does not want a casino built in Boracay.
According to Duterte, ending jueteng would also mean putting an end to a community’s economic activity.
“Ngayon kung wala akong pampalit sa jueteng, ano ang gawin ko? Madali lang man ‘yan (Now, if I can’t find something to replace jueteng, what should I so? That’s easy),” Duterte said.
“Hulihin man nila ‘yan lahat (If they will arrest them all), then what is the activity — economic activity? Wala (Nothing),” he added.
Duterte also noted how there is some sort of inactivity in the economy in the provinces.
“Now, the economy is in the doldrums, actually now. Interest rates are picking up, are getting high so it destroys the existing… Sabi ko sa (in) Manila, they’re starting on the mega projects well I supposed that they should be doing it on time. Pero sa mga provinces kasi (but in the provinces), it’s a doldrums thing,” he said.
“Eh kung may jueteng, may pasan, At least umiikot ‘yung pera. ‘Yung iba gutom pero ‘yung iba naman kumakain (If there is jueteng, at least the money is going around. Some people may be hungry, some people may have food to eat), and there’s a commercial activity there),” he added.
Duterte said that he will talk with the Cabinet members to find a system that would guarantee income to the government.
“If I cannot replace it — itong, with a strong — itong lotto, hayaan ko muna kasi nandiyan na ‘yan eh. Ang mga jueteng lords are lording it over even sa lotto. Sinasakyan nila (with lotto, then I’ll let it be for now because it’s already there anyway. Jueteng lords are lording it over even with lotto anyway),” he said.
“So hindi ko man mahuli lahat (I may not catch them all). I’m just maybe brainstorming with everybody in the Cabinet of how to come up with a system that would guarantee income to the government but allow ‘yung ano lang (only the)…” he added without finishing his sentence.
However, the President emphasized that he is still against gambling in general.
“Mahirap ‘yang puro sugal lang sa isip (It’s difficult if gambling is the only thing the mind can think of). It’s a temptation,” he said.
Republic Act. No. 9287 defines jueteng as an illegal numbers game that involves the combination of 37 numbers against another set of 37 numbers from numbers 1 to 37. It serves as a form of local lottery where bets are placed and accepted per combination and its variants.
The penalties on people who engage in jueteng are imprisonment which ranges from 30 to 90 days for bettors, and up to 16 to 20 years for protectors or coddlers.
Government employees or public officials caught involved in jueteng shall suffer the penalty of 12 to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine ranging from P3 million to P5 million and perpetual absolute disqualification from public office.