By Genalyn Kabiling
The government may allow the “jueteng” operations in the country for now since it is the “lesser evil” compared to the illegal drug trade, according to President Duterte.
At the recent oath-taking of newly elected officials in Malacañang, the President expressed concern that the illegal drug trade might take over and flourish if the government clamps down on the illegal numbers racket.
“May mga jueteng na activity…Maski sinong Presidente ilagay mo dito, for as long as the economy does not really provide food on the table for so many families, hayaan mo na lang ‘yan. At least ang pera doon [There are jueteng activities. Regardless who the President is, for as long as the economy does not provide really food on the table for so many families, you just let it be. At least the money is there],” he said during the oath-taking of newly elected government officials in Malacanang last Tuesday.
“Kasi hindi ko talaga rin kaya. At pagka sinira ko ‘yan, ang papalit sa apparatus niyan, droga. So choose between the lesser evil [Because I also can not do it. And if I order the closure of jueteng, it will be replaced by the drug apparatus. So choose between the lesser evil],” he added.
Besides, Duterte admitted that he has no sufficient government force to implement a crackdown on jueteng operations.
“I cannot order my police to go and make a sweeping campaign everyday. I do not have that kind of force,” he said.
The President also acknowledged that the networking of jueteng operations has been “successful,” unlike the controversial investment scheme of a religious group.
“‘Yan ang pinakamagandang networking na successful talaga. Walang sabit. Hindi ka pa — mag-KAPA-KAPA ka pa diyan eh [That’s the best networking. It has been successful. No hitches. It’s like KAPA],” he said.
Last year, the President declared that the government must be prepared to provide alternative livelihood to the people if it moves to stop jueteng operations in the country. He also expressed concern that dismantling jueteng operations might only worsen the narcotics trade in the country.