Friday, September 14, 2012

Jueteng and the Bishop

Archishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz blithely wagging a finger at 
Congresman Roilo Golez

Jueteng (hwe-teng) is a very popular illegal numbers game in the Philippines played by both the rich and poor alike.  It is a game where your P5 peso wager can win P500. Thus, for many folks, especially the elderly leading somber lives, the game's evening drawing is something to look forward to at the end of the day. An existential glitter of hope is what it has become for these jueteng aficionados.

Jueteng originally came from China and means "flower" (jue) and "bet" (teng), and has since gotten entrenched deeply into the local culture.  It used to be when its operations existed only in the provinces, but now there are bookies in almost every urban turf in the country. 

Even worse, it has become virtually impossible to eradicate, because it is said the amount of regular bribes handed by jueteng lords to local officials and law enforcers can be astonishing.  Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago estimated the gross annual receipts from jueteng at around P30 billion, one percent of which goes to the DILG and the PNP as protection money.

Bishop Oscar Cruz is a fearless crusader against jueteng operations even long before his retirement.  In fact, during the Senate probe a few years ago, he provided the investigating committee with documents including the list of jueteng lords and bribe recipients.  Much to his dismay, nothing came out of it.  There were no consequential indictments or prosecutions.

With another senate probe on jueteng scheduled this Friday, the Bishop appears reluctant to attend; claiming he had already provided information to the Senate in the past, and it is the same as it ever was. “So far, the picture has not changed," he said.

“It’s all in their minutes and records. They already have all the documents including the list of jueteng lords and beneficiaries,” he reiterated in a CBCPNews report,  "Now if they would like to know what is the score then it’s enough for them to go over these resources." 

Be that as it may, Bishop Cruz admits his indecision whether to attend Friday's Senate inquiry or not.  But he claims the ultimate solution is for public officials and the authorities to agree to expunge jueteng in their regions and be adamant about it -- as accomplished by the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo when he was mayor of Naga City.

Archbishop Emeritus Oscar V. Cruz, retired archbishop of the Lingayen-Dagupan Archdiocese and former president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, is the jueteng operators' archenemy.  I'd be astounded if he does not show up at this new Senate probe.

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Suggested reads:

Philippine Daily Inquirer: ‘Jueteng’ take P50M daily, says Lacson New jueteng probe set


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  1. heard about Jueteng when I was a kid and still is existing to date. flower and bet? hhmm, so this came from China pala.

    1. Supposedly, Nuts. Much like siopao, jueteng came from China.

  2. Why don't they just legalize jueteng? Hindi na yata maaalis iyan!

    1. I think there are those who want to legalize jueteng, bertN.