SANTIAGO CITY—A jueteng table manager disclosed the “underground mechanics” on how a gambling lord and local officials come to terms for the “smooth” operation of the illegal numbers game in any province.
“Just like in the underworld, it’s a grave sin punishable by death for the trusted minions to [disclose] the identity of the godfather. The same system is oftentimes also applied in jueteng since this is illegal and thus punishable by law,” started the reformed gambler, who accepted The Manila Times’ request for an exclusive interview.
And who are the culprits of allowing jueteng to operate in a certain province?
“It depends,” he said. “But first and foremost, the main man to decide is the governor, who, in turn, will speak for the mayors. No matter how influential a gambling lord is using his or her connections from the higher echelons of the government, jueteng is doomed without the appropriate blessings of the governor.”
“Once the governor approves it,” he continued, “the next step to negotiate is the police in that particular province. This part of the deal is easy to settle because a provincial police chief is serving under the pleasure of the governor.”
In practice, a governor has a free hand in picking the provincial police chief in his or her province.
He further added that another possible hindrance is an “outside formidable resistance,” like the Church and other antigambling advocates, including the media.
“Take a look at the fight being put up by outspoken Archbishop Oscar Cruz of Pangasinan. A church leader like him is an example that money can’t buy everything. No doubt the bishop is a big headache for gambling lords together with their cohorts in the government and the police,” he said.
In Cagayan Valley, Bishops Sergio Utleg of Ilagan and Ramon Villena of Bayombong are also known as vigorous campaigners for the eradication of jueteng in their episcopal jurisdictions.
In his 10 years working in the world of illegal gambling in Isabela, the former gambler admitted that he was able to build a decent house worth less than a million pesos, bought four acres of land, invested in the agri-supply business, and now a fulfilled father of four college graduates.
“My wife and children and even my relatives knew very well who I was before and what I became after jueteng. For those who know me, I can’t deny my fortune today came from illegal gambling.”
“If you’re determined enough to uplift yourself and your family from abject poverty, I kept telling myself then to work hard, be wise and always be careful and not get arrested and thrown in jail or even killed,” he confessed, citing as an example a jueteng table manager in Cagayan who was gunned down more than two years ago.
He also cited the case of a jueteng table manager of a politician-gambling lord in this city whose son was killed because he exposes his boss’ illegal gambling business.
He said he withdrew “clean and silently” from the demigods of the gambling underworld five years ago after safely earning enough money to start a new life.
The former gambler’s revelation about how the illegal numbers game works explained the rampant jueteng operations in Cagayan Valley at present.
He believed that illegal gambling, like jueteng, is not possible without the approval of local officials and the police.