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In shutting down PCSO, Duterte has helped promote jueteng

without giving details or offering any evidence of the alleged corruption in PCSO, the public headed into the weekend surprised and puzzled with the sudden shutdown of Lotto, Keno, STL and other gaming activities by PCSO.

All the Palace could say was that details will be given “in due time.” No one from the top brass of PCSO has resigned nor has given any statement to Duterte’s shutdown order, only that they will make an appeal to the President’s office.

Recall that one of PCSO’s offerings is the Small-town lottery or STL which was meant to compete and help get rid of the illegal numbers game ‘jueteng’. Now that STL has been shuttered, one would expect an increase of jueteng’s popularity as people will turn to it for their gambling fix or livelihood.

With one stroke, Duterte has indirectly boosted the illegal numbers game. He was even able to mobilize the PNP in closing down the thousands of Lotto stalls nationwide under generous media coverage.

Then there was this speech the President gave last June during an oath-taking ceremony of newly elected officials in Malacanang:

May mga jueteng na activity…Maski sinong Presidente ilagay mo dito, for as long as the economy does not really provide food on the table for so many families, hayaan mo na lang ‘yan. At least ang pera doon [There are jueteng activities. Regardless who the President is, for as long as the economy does not provide really food on the table for so many families, you just let it be. At least the money is there]

Kasi hindi ko talaga rin kaya. At pagka sinira ko ‘yan, ang papalit sa apparatus niyan, droga. So choose between the lesser evil [Because I also can not do it. And if I order the closure of jueteng, it will be replaced by the drug apparatus. So choose between the lesser evil]

So it seems that Duterte has really chosen the ‘lesser evil’ and gave jueteng a Presidential boost by shutting down its competitor. Until Duterte reveals more details or progress of his so-called investigation into the alleged corruption in PCSO, the public will just have to wait and wonder.