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July 10, 2010



I was going to post something similar to this, but you beat me to it! ^_^ I agree, jueteng should indeed be legalized. A crackdown would only embolden the authorities even more in their habit of soliciting bribe in exchange for protection.


I think objection to jueteng should be based on the critical role it plays in sustaining local pols and their networks. Jueteng fills many a small-town mayor's coffers and sustains the apparatus that keeps him/her in power (police, political wards, etc). That apparatus is no different from the apparatus of patronage politics that pervades the Philippine countryside. That's why national politicians/figures are the most vocal against it--their power depends on a different calculus of forces.

I doubt jueteng can ever be stamped out but I also doubt it will ever be legalised. It's not just the Catholic church that will oppose that, it will be warlords who benefit from it.


On a related note, maybe we can adopt some of the gambling practices from here. It's highly amusing to see what people bet on at Ladbrokes(from football results to their own life spans). Maybe Pinoys can bet on Kris Aquino's lovelife, or the chances of a hailstorm in the middle of the dry season, etc. More entertaining than jueteng.

Jon Limjap

Hmmm, my only problem with this is.

I can replace the word "jueteng" with "marijuana" in your blog post and the arguments will still be valid.

Maybe all forms of gambling should just be legalized, period.


But marijuana is not gambling.


Noynoy will be assassinated if he pushes through with legalization.

A crackdown on the other hand is good from the point of view of political points with the media and masses. It's also good for the kickback beneficiaries (ie, all local execs, lawmakers, and police) in that crackdown equals more kickback for protection.

But he can never get congressmen to legalize it, as they're one of the beneficiaries of jueteng kickbacks.


"Jueteng fills many a small-town mayor's coffers and sustains the apparatus that keeps him/her in power (police, political wards, etc).
Posted by: Carla | July 12, 2010 at 06:34 AM"

Really? I think they use it to buy SUVs and mansions and GROs.

This is the reason why political positions that pay a few thousand pesos are highly contested in our land.

BTW, the police have their own kickbacks, independent from mayor and govs.


Sure, the mayors, etc. buy SUVs , etc. but that's beside the point. They also use money obtained through other means (i.e. corruption, maybe drugs, etc.) to buy those luxuries.

Jueteng money maintains the *apparatus* that is used to run jueteng operations, which is virtually the same as the local political network. You only have to observe how local electoral campaigns are run to see that the political wards in every barangay are organised and financed through jueteng operations.


Are you implying that jueteng bribes are used to maintain operations, ergo, politicians are jueteng operators?

If yes I think you have the wrong idea.

Jueteng is monopolized by only a few jueteng lords, among them Bong Pineda. They use bagmen to distribute protection money from mayors to police up to the president.

The latter don't get involved in jueteng. They're only role is to receive the bayong of money every month.


No, I'm not implying that at all. Not all (local) politicians are jueteng operators but the network maintained by jueteng money is critical to them. (Arguably, the money might even be of secondary importance compared to the network.) It's the perfect symbiotic relationship, which is why I doubt it will ever go away.

What other network goes as deep as the barangay level, street by street, house to house? The jueteng apparatus employs people who possess vast amounts of social information and interact with residents on a daily basis in transactions that involve trust. It remains intact in between elections, while campaign machines are dormant.

This is not even original. PCIJ published research on this in the early 1990s. I remember it won the Jaime V. Ongpin award. Can't remember the title just now.


Found it. This is the second part of the three-part series.



I don't see how it's symbiotic. To say that it's sybiotic is to imply that one relies on the other.

That's just not true. Jueteng is maintained by the patrons who pay, not politicians. Politicians may allow it to operate, but that's not to say they're "maintaining" it. Actually, politicians take a lot away from the jueteng network, by way of harrassment of cabos and cubradors and eroding the gambling lord's earnings. It is estimated that 70 to 80 centavos per 1 peso goes to bribes, leaving only 20 to 30 cents to maintain the whole network, from the cubrador's pay to the gambling lord's profits.

In the same vein, jueteng does not maintain the political networks in the Philippines. To prove this point, know that jueteng only exists on a massive level in Luzon. Only the mayors, governors, senators, congressmen, and police in Luzon (including the president and v.p.) get jueteng kickbacks. Visayan and Mindanao politicos don't get jueteng kickbacks for the simple fact it does not exist or is less popular there. But that does not mean the political networks in Visayas or Mindanao are "less maintained" because of the non-existence of kickbacks. Political networks are about the same the whole islands over. It's just that Luzon politicos have more disposable income by way of jueteng kickback and Mindanao politicos have more drug kickback money. Visayan politicians are the pooorest of the lot in terms of corruption earnings.

Re: the importance of social networks of cubradors. This is pretty much useless. Kubradors may know their customers and their gambling habits, but it has no use for political or sociological purposes. It would be giving the the cubradors and jueteng network too much credit to think this knowledge is important for social cohesion or whatever. Cubradors do their rounds 3 to 4 times a day, leaving less time for social interaction and information sharing.

Pepe Alas

I agree. Jueteng should be legalized. It helps so many poor people. Anyway, I see no difference between small-time jueteng and large-scale gambling inside Casino Filipino.

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I agree. Jueteng should be legalized. It helps so many poor people. Anyway, I see no difference between small-time jueteng and large-scale gambling inside Casino Filipino.

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