EditorialEditorial - Charade

Editorial – Charade

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Every new President starts off with a high moral stand. For President PNoy, the order is to stamp out jueteng. The order is transmitted from the top to the bottom. In no time, even the station commander of the most remote police station in the country will have to do something to comply with the directive.{{more}}

Long before President PNoy, other presidents before him also sought to stamp out Jueteng–or whatever it is called in the provinces–to no avail. This three-digit game is as alive as ever not only in Pampanga but even here in our own Province of Negros Oriental. Here it’s called Bagdok.

It would seem like it is easier to catch an “usher,” i.e., someone who sells Bagdok tickets, than to catch a mouse. True enough, several police raids in the past have resulted in the arrest of “ushers” along with “evidence,” such as bet money, ticket stubs and the like, but this hasn’t failed to stop this illegal game. For one, none of the suspected “big fish” have been found guilty, much less brought to court.

Could it be that Jueteng or Bagdok thrives because it is allowed by our officials to continue? Any illegal game, whether Tigbakay, Bagdok and what-have-you, have thousands of voters who patronize or even swear by these games. In a province in the Visayas (not Negros Oriental), even the governor asked the provincial police commander to “go slow” in running after Tigbakay. “It’s their only form of recreation and it is also a social event for these people, as they only get to see their friends and relatives at times like this,” the governor was quoted to have told the policeman.

These illegal games are the modern-day opium of the masses. There have been calls to legalize these operations but they cannot be legalized because they instead compete with the state-sponsored gambling, like lotto.

What are we to do? Should we continue pretending to be against illegal gambling? Or do we adopt the now popular line of a former mayoralty candidate: “If it pleases the people, it also pleases God!”

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