"Have we really become a nation of gamblers?"
This one can potentially be a litmus test for newly appointed Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar.
Eleazar’s sincerity, credibility, integrity, and honesty as the top law enforcer of the land is on the line here as gambling lords are reportedly poised to heighten their jueteng operations in light of the May 2022 local and national elections.
Eleazar, who took over the reins of the PNP only last May 6, has gained the moniker “darling of the press” because he had been hogging the headlines for his accomplishments as a police official.
Well, I’ve got news for him. Rumors are rife right within the National Capital Region Police Office in Taguig City that a massive fund-raising drive for a senatorial wannabe will roll out in the coming months, with a ranking police official based at Campo NCRPO at the driver’s seat.
Rewind to the jueteng conspiracy theory. The buzz going around in Campo NCRPO is an unholy alliance between certain police officials and a politician eyeing a seat in the Senate are hell bent on intensifying their jueteng operations to rack up money for the campaign.
The alleged sinister project is simply dubbed as “Oplan Fund-raising.”
At first blush, the scheme looks legal and noble, and I have nothing against that. We live in a democracy, and this is still a free country, albeit there are laws that govern our behavior.
For law enforcers to engage in illegal activities is deplorable, to say the least. What they are about to do is not a matter of the end justifying the means. Never mind if it is against the law.
Gen. Eleazar, sir, I believe—and I strongly recommend it—that you should nip this shenanigan in the bud, because it may explode in your face, irreparably damaging your good reputation as a no-nonsense police official.
Under your command as NCRPO chief, the facility was a shining example of integrity in the uniformed public service, and that includes the armed forces.
It’s been said that no illegal gambling let alone jueteng could flourish without the blessings of equally corrupt policemen in cahoots with crooked local government officials.
In the gambler’s parlance, the pay-off or bribe is called “intelligentsia” which comes in no small amounts.
Many a police chief, and presidents for that matter, have solemnly vowed to weed out illegal gambling as a cornerstone of their administration. With jueteng and other forms of unlawful gambling still alive and kicking, so to speak, it goes without saying that none of the promises was kept.
And isn’t it odd that ranking police officials in Campo NCRPO have an inkling of what’s going to happen as the next elections draw nearer?
Will they just sit back and watch the events unfold? Or will they preempt the gambling lords and render honest-to-goodness service where decent service is due?
Will Gen. Eleazar simply look the other way as the rest of his deputies and lieutenants would likely do?
At the moment, questions fly thick on what Eleazar will do as a police chief. For the time being, it’s a wait and see mode for the entire Filipino citizenry.
If memory serves, Congress legislated lotto as a tool to effectively eliminate jueteng, predicated on the idiotic logic that goes this way; “If we cannot lick them, let us join them.”
Truth be told. Over the years since lotto gained foothold in the Philippines, jueteng has been giving the state-sponsored gambling a run for its money.
Hence, the government-run Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office which operates the lotto decided to take a bolder step.
Taking the bull by the horn, so to speak, the PCSO subsequently launched the small-town lottery that is akin in all aspects to jueteng. Regrettably, the STL likewise failed miserably to combat the inscrutable jueteng.
Now, how do you solve a problem like Maria? In the case at hand, how do you solve a problem like jueteng?
As the legendary Sherlock Holmes is fond of saying; “Elementary, my dear Watson.”
In jueteng’s case, it is as elementary as honest-to-goodness law enforcement. Know what I mean?
By the way, the online sabong is also taking the country by storm. Have we really become a nation of gamblers?
You bet we are.