The mayor’s anti-illegal gambling stand
By Atty. Antonio P. Pekas
Mayor Benjie just might surprise all of us if he delivers on the few things he announced in public. Number one was his booming scare against illegal gambling which must cease by July 1, 2019. Well and good for am one of those who subscribe to not hitch one’s star to easy money like what one dreams of when he goes to the casino at Poro Point, or when lesser blessed daily wage earners plunk down a substantial part of their wages as a bets in jueteng, or when those misty eyed hopefuls endure long queues to buy lotto tickets. While I am a dreamer in many ways, when It comes to getting money, I have come to realize that the only good way is the hard way.
Allowing gambling is like encouraging so many members of the hoi polloi to wager their small money in gambling joints instead of buying rice or paracetamol pills for a toddler having fever. And when they lose the rent or food money what do they do to survive? They commit crimes. Putting a stop to illegal gambling means putting a stop to some crimes, including domestic violence.
Can the mayor deliver on this? We will see.
Just the day before the last local election, a friend texted me to say that she wanted to vote for somebody who was anti-illegal gambling. I tested back, “You can’t find one who really is.” I meant that they just say it for public consumption but in time they become protectors of illegal gambling.” Not entirely their fault as the people are always running to politicians for everything including their bus fare to go back to the province, or to bring home their dead, or to bring a baby to the hospital. Yes, as if there is no end to our needs that have to be financed by seeking dole outs from politicians. So the illegal gambling payola always comes in handy as far as politicians are concerned..
Not just us individuals. Even the police are so cash strapped that they need the jueteng payola to have fuel for their mobile patrol cars or for the food and coffee of those who have to go through the night shift.
Then when the next election comes, politicians need money, big money. As everybody knows, money is what makes political campaigns go around. Without big money, any political campaign is dead in the water before it even starts.
So if the mayor can find other ways to satisfy these, perhaps he can deliver in his anti-gambling stand, then he can deliver in all the other things he promised. And many would campaign for him the next time around. I for one would be out there campaigning for him.
Of course it will take a little while for us to see whether he is serious in his anti-illegal gambling pronouncement. Considering however that he was a police man, it should just take around a week or two before we can see revealing signs as to his seriousness.
Two days after July 1 when the mayor said that all illegal gambling must stop in this Summer Capital I engaged a cabbie in a conversation regarding jueteng in the city. It is these cabbies who usually know from what they overhear from passengers if there are still gambling joints in some nooks and crannies.
I asked, “Ket awan nga talaga jeuteng en?”
“Ada pay met di kalman idiay PNR,” he answered.
PNR is of course the Marcoville area, where the Victory Liner bus station is found.
The million dollar question is, will he capitulate to the gambling lords, or will he succeed in stamping out gambling? If he does, he will be a shoo-in after three years in his reelection bid, and I will rooting for him.