Jueteng mafia’s might vs. Puno and strengthened STL
The country’s organized jueteng mafia is expected to use all its might – power, money and influence – to discredit and “demonize” DILG Undersecretary Rico E. Puno and derail his three-point proposal to strengthen the PCSO’s Small Town Lottery (STL) aimed to stamp out the illegal numbers game jueteng.
Based on reports provided by the PNP, jueteng has estimated annual gross sales of P37.7 billion while STL generates only P1.7 billion per year.
We still have to see if the government would just sit back or back-pedal on this Puno-initiated measure, but many say this scenario is creating a lot of fears and anxieties from among the country’s illegalistas who stand to lose a lot of money or close shop if STL is revised, strengthened and expanded.
At present, the STL, whose franchisees are known gambling lords, was designed not as an instrument to kill jueteng, but just to be convenient cover for jueteng.
A one-peso bet for STL only wins P800 while jueteng gives out P900, the main reason why bettors prefer the latter over the former. Under the new PCSO plan, it intends to raise the per peso bet to win P950 or P1,000.
Puno’s proposed anti-jueteng plan, which is expected to be approved and implemented by the PCSO soon, seeks to increase the number of STL franchisees from 82 operations at present to 1,400 to be granted to local businessmen in every town and cities to eliminate the “gaps or areas” that remain open for jueteng operators.
To date, the PCSO has approved only 23 STL franchises and their operators are granted authority for a full provincial coverage, meaning they can set up STL outlets (side-by-side with jueteng bookies) in every town or city located in a province.
The STL franchise holders are required to post only a P10 million cash bond under the present set up. The new program aims to require them with P20 million to force franchise operators to exert all possible means to push for STL in their areas.
Puno also pushed for a clear and definitive sharing of the STL charity fund among stakeholders in a franchise area, and they include the setting aside of 30 percent of net sales to be distributed to town or city government (8%); provincial government (3%); legislative district (2%); local police (5%) and community welfare fund (12%).
To show transparency, the daily draws would be held in the town plaza or hall under the supervision of mayors, local chiefs of police or their representatives and other stakeholders. Unlike in jueteng, where the least bets is being chosen to win, the STL bet collectors and bettors would see for themselves the winning combinations in every draw.
Right now, the DILG-PCSO plan to strengthen STL to eliminate jueteng is sending chills and fears to all of the country’s gambling lords and their jueteng payola recipients. If all these plans and proposals for STL would materialize, their multi-million-peso illegal and tax-free businesses are dead.
Puno suspects that this is the very main reason why he had become a favorite target of an apparently well-funded demolition job, to demonize him as “ultimate recipient” of jueteng payola, in the media.
The main objective is to discredit him, and for him to look bad in the eyes of the public and President Noynoy Aquino and force the latter to sack him from his post.
Note: I think Usec Puno had forgotten one thing in his proposals. That is to propose to the PCSO on how the latter would be able to entice, motivate and convince the jueteng cobradors to shift much of their collections from jueteng to STL.
Those in the know says that a jueteng cobrador is ensured of a .03 percent commission from his jueteng bet collections and is allowed, sometimes mandatory, to receive a 10 percent commission from the winnings of a jueteng bettor.
I do not know yet the exact amount of commissions an STL bet collector receives from his collections, but I am sure that it is much lower from what they get from jueteng, the reason why they prefer to collect bets for the illegal numbers game.
For feedback and comments, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Romie A. Evangelista