‘Jueteng’ now gone, says Año
MANILA, Philippines — The operations of the illegal numbers game “jueteng” have quickly dissipated after President Rodrigo Duterte stopped the Small Town Lottery (STL), Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said on Tuesday.
Authorities had long suspected that STL, one of the games supervised by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), has become a smokescreen for jueteng since the two lottery games have similar mechanics.
“For the first time, after the President declared ‘no STL’ and ‘no jueteng,’ nobody attempted to open jueteng operations until now,” Año told the Inquirer, adding that despite that, he had ordered that the illegal numbers game be monitored.
Citing widespread corruption, the President abruptly pulled the plug on all PCSO games, including the widely popular Lotto, STL and Peryahan ng Bayan, on July 26, a move met by protest from Lotto franchise holders and bettors.
The President eventually lifted the ban on Lotto draws four days later, but kept STL operations frozen.
STL and Peryahan ng Bayan operations will remain closed, since revenues from them end up getting stolen, President Duterte said on Monday.
Lotto operations are computerized and automated, unlike the STL and Peryahan ng Bayan games.
“STL, Peryahan ng Bayan. Son of a bitch, it’s all stealing … So I had to stop it,” Mr. Duterte said.
“I thought I could (stop corruption), but you know corruption has permeated government itself. I said it’s corrupt to the core and it is right now,” he added.
The President also urged new officials to help him keep corruption “to the barest minimum” as stamping it out completely is impossible.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson expressed doubts that the government could keep jueteng at bay.
“Jueteng is like any other crime, [such as] murder, homicide or robbery. You can minimize it, but you cannot stop it as long as police officers in the field are getting a share of the payola,” he said.
Año said the Department of the Interior and Local Government would help investigate Lacson’s allegation that a group of retired military and police generals, who had secured STL franchises, had not been remitting government shares from their collections.
“There [are] no sacred cows to us … I will not allow that,” Año said.
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