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22-24 May 2010

Aquino turns down proposal to legalise ‘jueteng’

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Philippine president-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III has rejected a proposal by his uncle to legalise “jueteng,” a numbers racket that brings in millions of pesos in cash to operators and their protectors, reported the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

“Jueteng is against the law and we will enforce the law,” Aquino told reporters.

In a radio interview, former Tarlac Rep. Jose “Peping” Cojuangco said he was all for the legalisation of jueteng because his poor constituents had been complaining about the lack of a pastime unlike more affluent individuals who have cockfighting and horse racing.

Cojuangco was accused of being a big-time jueteng lord after his sister, the late President Corazon Aquino, took power in 1986. He has denied the charges along with allegations that he and his relatives belonged to “Kamag-anak Inc.,” which benefited from corrupt deals during the Aquino years.

Instead of legalising jueteng, Aquino said he would allocate government resources to provide job opportunities in provinces where jueteng was popular. He said he implemented various livelihood programmes in Tarlac, his home province.

While jueteng is on the list of vices that he wants to eradicate, Aquino is seeking to prioritise the campaign against other crimes.

“We can go after jueteng but we will divert resources that could have been used to go after drugs, kidnapping and other crimes. I think the drug problem is serious. I also want to give justice to the victims of private armies,” he said.


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