By Mortz C. Ortigoza
Ronald (not his real name) decried the series of raid and arrest done by law enforcers against the uniformed and mobile collectors of Peryahan Games (Peryahan or Games for brevity) in Laoac – a 4th class town in the 48 cities and towns province Pangasinan.
“Noong December 23 at January 12 nandito ang mga taga NBI (National Bureau of Investigation). Bakit nila hina-harass ang mga taga Peryahan e legal na palaro ito dahil pag-aari ito ng PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstake Office?”.
His town just became a host last December 20 of the Games’ franchisee Global Tech Mobile Online.
The self-styled political kibitzer suspected that the raids against the collectors of the Peryahan the NBI alleged to front for jueteng were under the behest of big time gambling boss Atong Ang - whose multi-million pesos a day bet churning Meridian Jai Alai - is threatened by the Games’ 1-to-38 numbered Hulog Holen, a game of chance played like the illegal number game jueteng and Meridian’s Jai-Alai .
Palaro’s Many Games are Copy of Jueteng, Drop Ball, Etc.
Meridian and jueteng are played similarly like Holen but with only 1-to 37 combination as option combination to bettors.
Although there is almost no more jueteng played in the 2.8 populated province, the P10 million a day bets’ Meridian Jai-Alai has been given a semblance of legality after some of its smart-aleck lawyers filled an injunction case at the Court of Appeals that until now - for two years - the appellate court has yet to resolve whether it is legal or illegal. Anyare Court of Appeals?
Many of the games of Palaro are copy cats of jueteng, drop ball, video karera, and others.
“If you can’t beat ‘em, join’ ‘em?
Probably the imitation was a government strategy how to beat the decades old number games at the same time snare the funds they generate for the government coffer. Based on the Implementation Rules and Regulation (IRR) of the Peryahan these games are copyrighted and registered with intellectual property rights of the Philippines.They are Hulog Holen, Throw Coins, Gulong ng Swertres, Dart Baloon with Numbers, Rolets, Shooting Ring, Sa Pula, Sa Puti, Color Games, Drop Ball, Beto Beto, Karera, Bingo Dart, Sungka, Trumpo, and Pitik Bulag.
The difference between Peryahan Games and the P9 billion a year Jueteng racket in the country’s 12 provinces, the former remits 2% of the 30% Charity Fund based on the gross sales and receipts of the Games within the province, and 5% of the 30% Charity Fund based on the gross sales and receipts of the Games within the city or municipality while the latter are just, well, scandalous racket where monies go to the pockets of Gambling Lords, governors, congressmen, mayors and law enforcers while the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s personnel hold the empty proverbial bag like a fool.
Meridian’s seemingly spurious character is not spared with suspicion by people in the province. For instance several media men in Pangasinan have been asking why until now it has no office in any of the four cities and 44 towns of the province.
Peryahan Games Need Not Secure Barangay, Mayor’s Permits
The problem jueteng and Meridian faces with Global Tech was the certification given to it by Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s Acting Chairman Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas III that says “..all duly –authorized PCSO/Global Tech Peryahan Games/retailers/agents, similar to all other selling Lotto, Sweepstakes, Lotto Express (Keno), STL and all PCSO products, are exempted securing barangay and/or mayor’s /business permit and payment of the pertinent license fees to Local Government Units, pursuant to Section 4 of Republic Act No. 1169, as amended, otherwise known as PCSO Charter and Supreme Court Resolution dated 6 July 1998 (G.R. 133769) affirming all other decisions of the Court of Appeals related to the said issuance of local permits”.
With PCSO’s giving Mr. Jose Gregorio R. Aguiling, President Global Tech, one year experimental test run that had began last year in different provinces of the country, the Peryahan has been probably causing headaches not only to Ang but to gambling Lords’ lucratively run jueteng in the country.
End of the Road for Atong Ang, Gambling Lords?
Here’s a narration I gathered in my years of cutting my teeth in the pen pushing trade:
“When I was a mayor I received P50, 000 a day from jueteng as SOP (slang for payola in return for the mayor’s turning a blind eye),” a nine years mayor in the 3rd Congressional District in Pangasinan said.
A high official of a city in the province cited that his mayor is a recipient of P3 million a month from the 1-to 37 game.
“I used to earn P10 million to P12 million a month when I ran jueteng but when Meridian enters all the millions of pesos I got and all the vices I got vanished just like my hairline, “told to me by a former jueteng lord in another province whose P1 million a month – as ‘sueldohan (worker)” - from Meridian is not enough to pay old debts particularly those he incurred in casinos.
But the best argument against jueteng and Meridian can probably be cited on the account by a former supervisor of jueteng in a town in the 4th Congressionalstrict.
“Noong sa jueteng pa ako kami-kami na lang ang nagsasabi kung ano ang mananalo na numero”.
He said some jueteng supervisors draw 37 balls with number in a container rattan three times a day under the acacia tree.
He cited that it’s a good scam since there is no seed money the operator needs to invest before the business takes off.
“Ginigisa ang mga nagtataya diyan sa sariling mantika nila”.
Here’s my source, who knows the nuances of jueteng and Meridiane like a palm of his hand, explained with flourish to me when I told him the chutzpah done by the men behind Meridian against jueteng in Pangasinan.
“Tangal mo araw-araw ang 30% (P3 million) para sa mga panalo and tauhan (like cabo, cobradores, maintainers) ng palaro, tangal mo ang 20% (P2 million) para sa mga pulitiko sa national and local, para sa kapulisan, sa operator ng sugal meron siyang naiwan na P5 million daily”.
He quantified that P5 million (from a manipulated draw) in 30 days or one month would be a staggering P150 million or P1.8 billion a year.
When I asked my source if the big boss of Meridian can bankroll a gubernatorial bet, here his retort:
“That is an understatement. “He can even fund a presidential bet!”
Jueteng Exploit’s the Ignorant Masa Get Rich Frailty
But with Palaro Games, all those raps being fried in one’s fat, P10 million a day bets where monies go to some private pockets, and all those tens of millions of pesos a month SOP's to the governor, congressman, mayor, police brass, and others all over the country would be relegated to the dustbin of history only if the long duped bettors – who are mostly from the Unwashed of the Society – realized that the Games offered them more chances to win than those spurious games that only exploit their get rich quick frailty.
Mechanics of Palaro Games
Hulog Holen is where the bettor’s one peso wins P800.
Accordng to the IRR of Holen, its mechanic is ranged from 1 to 38, says: “A combination of two (2) numbers is drawn; one from each set within the number range. A player wins if his chosen combination matches that of the drawn combination in correct order”.
The frequency of the draw is three (3) times a day of every 11 AM, 4 PM, and 9 PM”.
Here how the draw procedures as provided by Section 4 for the Hulog Holen for instance as provided by the IRR on the Experimental Test –Run for the Games:
“PCSO representative will conduct the draw for the Games and will be assisted by the Draw Assistant; 2. The Chairman of the Panel of Judges drops the inspected ball in the specified chamber at the top of the machine. As the ball travels down to the spinning wheel at the bottom of the machine, its pah is affected by bumpers. The number upon the ball will rest shall be recorded accordingly. The ball will be removed from the draw machine. The process is repeated to determine the second of the two (2) number winning combination; 3. In the event that a draw machine breaks down, the Draw Assistant will announce the malfunction. The machine will be replaced by the alternate draw machine. All inspections and tests will be repeated prior to actual draw. Should the malfunction occur during the drawing of the 2nd number, the first number already drawn shall be considered valid”
Did jueteng and Meridian offer the masses with that kind of transparency? Geez whiz, NO!
With these mechanics shown by PCSO, would now the gullible and ignorant Filipino masa shift from jueteng to Games?
Wither Illegal Gambling
Incase they started the exodus of distrust after they see the credibility brought by the PCSO’s Control Lottery System (CLS) and Point of Sale (PoS) kiosks, then what I could say to end this article is wither jueteng and Meridian’s Jai-Alai, wither greedy politicians and law enforcers who undermine the revenues that should go to charity for the growing number of indigents, wither aged old Filipino fatalism of becoming rich someday through the penny they bet to a spurious number game.
(You can read my selected columns at http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too at firstname.lastname@example.org).