June 23, 2024

(Editors’ note: The Midland 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 May 22, 2005.)

At a time when oil and prices of other commodities are climbing, the clamor for wage increase appears to have fallen on deaf ears, and the average workingman is hard pressed as to how to make both ends meet, let alone save money for a rainy day.
But this is not the case in wages of sin, which come on a regular basis, every 15th and 30th of the month, when government and police officials received unrecorded income and therefore not subject to taxes, unless the BIR goes by the so-called blue book, which is a summary of accounts of how much this and that official gets from jueteng lords.

But jueteng is a poor man’s sweepstakes, where a few pesos, on a lucky day, can net him a 100 times more than the bet he places on a number combination of 1 to 37, anchored on a dream, an incident, or a hunch.
The only thing wrong is that jueteng corrupts, but even that would not be so bad if the jueteng lottery is fair and not rigged.
Day in and day out every bettor looks forward to winning at least once in three bolas that are conducted in a day.
Bettors care not if intelligentsia is being doled out to the police or to local officials. It is all part of the game.
Hitting the jackpot is every bettor’s goal, and truth is, even those who are on the take place bets themselves.
But the real money lords are the operators of the expressways. Think about it, every day they collect money from motorists, and in the case of the North Expressway, at the fantastic amount of P203 per trip. Multiply that by thousands of motorists, and the figure you come up with will stagger your imagination. Hey, they are raking in more money than the jueteng lords, but nobody is complaining.

But the biggest gambling lord is the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), and it works along the same principle as jueteng – that gamblers are a desperate lot looking for that lucky streak that will bail them out from their financial woes.
So, the government is hot on the trail of one smoking lord, yet goes to the bed with the other.
In other words, why put a stop to jueteng alone. Let’s get rid of all gambling, period. Close the casinos, revoke the license of cockpit operators, clamp into jail all gamblers, and let the sweepstakes hang.

I agree, gambling is pernicious to society, but if you tolerate one kind of gambling, then let everyone who wants to gamble give way to his itch.
It is their look out, anyway.
What makes Pagcor and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office holier than jueteng operators? The license to operate? If that is the case, let every jueteng operator apply for one.
At least the government will have its share of the cake, and not those who work under it.
Otherwise, like I said, let’s close all the gambling joints, and all the cockpits.
With no jackpots or winnings to look forward to, maybe we will all turn to God for salvation.