July 19, 2024

(Editors’ note: The Courier is reprinting the columns of the late Atty. Benedicto T. Carantes as a tribute to one of its long-time columnists. This piece was published on June 11, 2017)

People gamble for a variety of reasons, foremost of which is the immediate need for money, hoping to find a quick fix to the financial woes that have befallen them.
Others gamble if only to veer away for the drab routine of their daily existence, or as a means of escape from the harsh realities of life.
The rest are simply addicted to the vice.

Or like a friend of mine – since deceased – once put it during the days when we were fixtures in the casino, gambling is not only a game of a thousand thrills, it is also a game of a thousand orgasms, far better than sex itself.
Depending on age, conditioning and lust, one can only go as far as a dozen orgasms, 24/7 tops.
But in gambling, every time you are dealt with a winning hand, nothing compares to the excitement that surges thru your body and soul, the same feeling that brings you up on your feet when the cock you placed a bet on, all wounded and near death, comes from behind to score a stunning upset victory.
In much the same way that your heart beats twice as fast upon hearing the near deafening roar of the crowd when a 10 to 1 underdog colt wins by a nose in a heart stopping Kentucky derby.

I remember an incident involving a couple of policemen who arrested a woman for allegedly placing a bet on a jueteng draw when I was still the City Prosecutor.
I asked the arresting officers if they also had in custody the jueteng kubrador, and they replied that he was able to run away.
No way I was going to charge the woman with any felony, but if only to appease a bit the apprehending cops, I scolded the woman by telling her that she should have bought a can of milk for the child she was then carrying in her arms.
She meekly answered that P10 would not be enough to buy a can of milk, at least the nutritious kind.

Let’s assume that 50 others similarly situated would follow her example, given their needs of the moment.
That would mean a collection of P500 per draw which is done three times a day. Now, multiply the P1,500 by 130, or the number of barangays in the city. Roughly computed, that means a sum of P390,000 as the daily take. Again, multiplying that amount by 365 days, the yearly income would be something like P24 million. However, if we add 50 more bettors to our estimate of 50 in every barangay, the yearly income would be P48M.
Take out the P18M for intelligensiya, meaning the shares of the mayor, police director, and the chief of police, including dole-outs to VIPs, P30M would still be left for the jueteng operator.
Not even the president of the Philippines makes that kind of money, that is, if he is honest. Bite your tongue when you say that. STL (small town lottery)? That’s the same banana under a different cover.

Let’s go to the casinos. There are casinos in every principal city north and south of the country, with about 20 of them scattered all over Metro Manila.
Deciphering the figures is almost impossible, but if Pagcor gives P15 billion to the revolving fund of the president on a yearly, you pretty have an idea of how much Pagcor makes. Why, it can even afford to pay Figaro millions of pesos for the coffee given free to patrons.

Let’s move to the world of cockfighting using the Tuba cockpit as an example.
Unlike the movie houses where the admission rates remain the same even if the flick showing in the theaters is a blockbuster or a box office hit, it is not the same alas, with cockpit operators who charge high rates depending on the number of fights for the day, at times ranging from P700 to P1,000.
Fine with me, I once paid P2,500 to gain entrance to an Atong Ang sponsored derby. No skin off my back really. But guys like my friend Antenna is losing what little is left of his hair what he deems to be too much for average bettors like him. Bettors can howl all they want, but their complaints fall on deaf ears. The jingle in the pocket being stronger than all the noise coming out of their mouths.
But the ones I pity are the lowly vendors, forced to accede to whatever management wants if only to earn a few bucks for a living.
But let’s face it, in this country, nothing moves without money. Money begets action, respect, even worship.
I feel sorry for the new lawyers. An elementary graduate with money is given the best seat in the house, and not even the first placer is afforded the same privilege.
Get rich first attorney, but always best to keep in mind your Lawyer’s Oath. You forget it, and you become trash. Rich maybe, but still garbage.