May 21, 2019
AS the conquering Roman emperor enters his city state amids cheers from an adulatory crowd, his assistant who is with him on his chariot constantly whispers in his ear: “Thou art mortal.”
The victors in the recent elections should take the above scene to heart.
Yes, you are flush with victory; euphoria is a natural human emotion.
But be also aware that your newly acquired power is temporary, that it will come to an end later.
Be humble and magnanimous then in victory, and fate will be very kind to you when your time to go comes.
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President Digong said recently he would become lenient towards illegal gambling as long as corruption by those who oversee games of chance is out of the picture.
Well said, Mr. President.
Jueteng and other forms of illegal gambling should be legalized as potential revenue earners for the government.
Jueteng, a numbers game, is so popular with the masses that whatever curbs the government has made to stop it have failed.
Because it is illegal, corrupt local and police officials are cashing in on the inteligensia, or bribes, put up by gambling lords.
By legalizing jueteng and other numbers games, corruption of local and police officials will become a thing of the past.
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Jueteng and other illegal numbers games have networks of collectors and cabos (supervisors) who number by the tens of thousands.
When local and police officials, pressured by the public and the national government, crack down on jueteng and other illegal numbers games, people who go from house to house collecting bets are deprived of their livelihood.
And what do these collectors do? They resort to other illegal and more pernicious means of making money — selling or pushing drugs.
In fact, unofficial studies in the past have shown that in areas where officials were strict in enforcing anti-gambling laws, drug pushing became prevalent.
* * *
I am not a gambler, but I understand the urge of many people to gamble, much like smoking or drinking liquor.
Indulging in a vice is as old as mankind.
There is a saying that when a thing is made illegal it becomes sweeter to indulge in.
During Prohibition (the ban on the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages) in the US from 1920 to 1933, there were more drinkers in that period than before the ban was imposed.
The key is to regulate, not totally ban.
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Although I am for a liberal view towards gambling, I still believe that government officials and employees should be banned from all gambling casinos.
Government men and women should be models of rectitude.
Their playing in the casinos naturally raises suspicion about the source of the money they’re betting at the gambling table or slot machines.
* * *
President Digong may want to reconsider reinstating retired Philippine Marine Brig. Gen. Alexander Balutan as general manager of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
Balutan was an honest man and his resignation was forced on him due to intrigues within the agency.
When he was still in the military service, Balutan’s record was untainted by corruption or allegations of corruption.
Some subordinates at the PCSO peddled lies against Balutan to certain Malacañang officials who, in turn, passed on the canard to the President.
Balutan’s reinstatement will put to shame those PCSO intriguers and gullible Palace officials.
* * *
Illegal gambling whistleblower-turned-government official Sandra Cam wants to be relieved as a board director of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
She said she would ask President Digong to let her go.
“I want to meet with you and I will ask you to relieve me [from my position]” because, she said, “she could no longer take the corruption in this agency (PCSO).”
Hey, woman, why do you have to meet with the President in order to ask him to let you go when you could just write him a letter of irrevocable resignation?
Truth is, Cam is a very spoiled woman and wants to always have her way.
But the PCSO board is a collegial body, meaning what she wants will have to jibe with those of her fellow board members.
She is also the No. 1 intriguer in the PCSO, and rumors have it that she was the one who fed a Palace official the lie that Balutan had accepted bribe money, which the Palace official readily believed and passed on to the President.
With Cam gone, that means one less intriguer in the snake pit that is the PCSO.
By the way, Cam is not as clean as she projects herself to be.
Ask her fellow PCSO officials and employees.
Before she was appointed to the PCSO, Cam made a scene at the VIP lounge at the airport when she was not given attention. She shouted for all and sundry to hear that she was about to be appointed to the Cabinet.
FYI: The PCSO board directorship is not a Cabinet position.
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