‘Jueteng’ land

Payola from gambling strong come-on for village, SK bets

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya–The continued operation of the illegal numbers game “jueteng” here has made posts in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan tempting, with candidates expecting to be beneficiaries of the supposed payoffs given to local officials, sources said Monday.

Voters expressed disgust over the large number of candidates who lacked the credentials needed for the job, and view the elective positions in the barangay as a “racket” because of “jueteng”.

“There’s so many of them, but they don’t talk about any platform at all. They are so interested because our town is now virtually a haven for illegal gambling,” said bank employee Marren Aguada of Bambang town.

P03 Dexter Divad of the Solano police said a candidate for village council in barangay Quezon told him that bribe from illegal gambling has lured him to try his luck at politics.

“He said kagawads are included in the ‘jueteng’ payola, which is more than what he earns as a tricycle driver,” he said.

The illegal numbers game has continued to proliferate in at least 10 lowland towns here, with winning number pairs drawn thrice daily at various locations in each town.

Michael Tiongson, Solano town council member, expressed alarm over reports that even SK bets are now being lured by their expected share in the “jueteng” payola.

It is worrying, Tiongson said, because at this stage, the SK elections are teaching the youth to cheat and do all things necessary in order for them to win in an election, and engage in corrupt activities.

“Maybe it’s an offshoot of what we have all been hearing about Malacañang lately,” he said, alluding to allegations of election fraud and bribery against the highest officials of the country.

According to Tiongson, a former village council member of Poblacion North in Solano, the monthly honorarium of a barangay council member can range from P1,000 to P6,000, depending on the internal revenue allotment the village receives.

Motherhood

As the campaign ended on Saturday, voters noted that candidates’ promises revolved around motherhood statements on good governance, equality and livelihood for the poor.

“It’s all the same. The campaign sounded like a continuation of the partisan May elections, where candidates and their supporters went at each other,” said provincial board member Maybelle Blossom Dumlao.

Bets in urban towns talked about how they plan to solve their drainage and garbage problems, better access to basic health services, and provision of street lights.

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