Press Release
September 29, 2010

Jinggoy files bill to legalize jueteng

In an effort to dismantle the intricate web of corruption and ugly politics while bringing in more state revenues in the process, Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada filed Tuesday a bill to legalize jueteng.

Senate Bill Number 2548 or the proposed "Jueteng Act of 2010" provides the sole control and supervision of jueteng to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). Provincial, city or municipal offices may be established by the PAGCOR for its operation at the local level.

Section 5 states that "no individual or private entity shall be engaged directly or indirectly in the operation of jueteng and no franchise or license relating thereto shall likewise be issued by PAGCOR."

In the same vein, "no police or government official shall allow the operation of any illegal numbers game" in their area of jurisdiction.

Criminal penalties of up to two-million-peso-fine and reclusion perpetua await any illegal jueteng operator (defined as the maintainer, investor, conductor and banker of jueteng activities). If the offender is a government or public official, he shall be met with a penalty of life imprisonment with disqualification from holding any public office and a fine of at least one million pesos.

"Through its legalization, the government can finally collect the revenues sourced from this numbers game, make use of the proceeds to finance important government programs, deny syndicates the opportunity to benefit from it and stamp out corruption," Sen. Estrada explains in the bill's introductory note.

Income generated from jueteng operation shall be allocated in this manner:

a. Not more than 20% of the daily gross collection shall be used to pay for the services of the authorized collectors, supervisors and other personnel;

b. 30% for the winning tickets and the rest shall be placed under the Presidential Social Fund of PAGCOR;

c. 10% for the provincial government;

d. 40% for the city or municipality's (distribution based on population) education programs and day care centers.

Jueteng is reported to generate at least fifty million pesos in Luzon operations alone. Thirty percent of which go to the law enforcement officers and national and local officials to allow this illegal gambling racket to continue and flourish.

Apart from becoming an additional source of funding, Sen. Estrada believes that legalization of jueteng could also deliver benefits to the workers involved in the business. "Ang mga mahihirap na taong nakikinabang ngayon sa jueteng - ang mga kabo, kubrador, at iba pa - ay magkakaroon na ng benepisyo tulad ng ordinaryong empleyado sa pribadong kumpanya. Magiging miyembro sila ng SSS, Philhealth at access sa mga pautang para makapag-tayo ng sariling bahay."

"It seems that jueteng has lived long enough since the Spanish period to withstand any more anti-jueteng campign as they all failed miserably. Maybe it is time for the government to look into the other direction and consider making it legal and reap benefits from it," Sen. Estrada maintains.

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