Sunday, May 23, 2010

Aquino rejects uncle’s bid to legalize ‘jueteng’

By Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:23:00 05/24/2010

Filed Under: Benigno Aquino III, Casinos & Gambling, Graft & Corruption, Crime

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines—Presumptive president-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III has thumbed down a proposal by his uncle to legalize “jueteng,” a numbers racket that brings in millions of pesos in cash to operators and their protectors.

“Jueteng is against the law and we will enforce the law,” Aquino told reporters.

In a radio interview, former Tarlac Rep. Jose “Peping” Cojuangco said he was all for the legalization of jueteng because his poor constituents had been complaining about the lack of a pastime unlike more affluent individuals who have cockfighting and horse racing.

Cojuangco was accused of being a big-time jueteng lord after his sister, the late President Corazon Aquino, took power in 1986.

He has denied the charges along with allegations that he and his relatives belonged to “Kamag-anak Inc.,” which benefited from corrupt deals during the Aquino years.

Cojuangco noted that no formal charges had been filed in court against him or his kin.

Instead of legalizing jueteng, Aquino said he would allocate government resources to provide job opportunities in provinces where jueteng was popular.

He said he implemented various livelihood programs in Tarlac, his home province.

“Each barangay was given quotas for the livelihood projects that it ran for five days and this meant little time for drinking or gambling,” Aquino said.

“Instead of punitive (actions against jueteng), we should provide other amusement as a long-lasting solution,” he added.

While jueteng is on the list of vices that he wants to eradicate, Aquino is seeking to prioritize the campaign against other crimes.

“We can go after jueteng but we will divert resources that could have been used to go after drugs, kidnapping and other crimes. I think the drug problem is serious. I also want to give justice to the victims of private armies,” he said.

He reckoned that gambling was a vice that forces people to sacrifice their money meant to pay electric bills and other needs of their families, leading to low productivity.

Original Story:

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