Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s statement on President Duterte’s Policy on Jueteng

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In response to the deteriorating economy, the President thinks his government should not go against jueteng because it now serves as a boost to the sagging economy in the country’s localities.

At first glance, the President’s position seems surprising, after promising to go after illegal gambling once he is done dealing with illegal drugs. But this position is only consistent with what we have already seen in his government.

Duterte is no law enforcer. He actually enables the violation of the law and the Constitution. He declared the Constitution a mere scrap of paper in front of those charged to defend it, our soldiers and men and women of the AFP. He has made the killing of mere suspects an SOP in the PNP, and encouraged vigilantism in dealing with small-time suspected drug-users and pushers.

In the meantime, his own son gets away with one of the biggest drug-smuggling cases in the country’s history, amounting to 6.4 billion pesos in shabu. His compadre Peter Lim, admitted drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, and other big-time drug personalities continue to dance around DOJ summons without any charges being filed against them in court.

Corruption in government, especially among Duterte’s cabinet members, is at an all-time high. His former DOT Secretary gifts her government TV-hired brothers P60 million in advertising for a show nobody watches. His Solicitor General doesn’t break a sweat in defending his own violation of the constitutional provision that prohibits cabinet secretaries and their deputies in being financially interested in any government contract. His Energy Secretary becomes a billionaire overnight while holding public office, “energizing” his personal wealth from a net worth of just P162.7 million to P1.355 billion in one year.

The legalization of crime, or the normalization of the violation of the law, is what happens when a criminal mafia from the country’s backwaters captures state power. Duterte has run nothing but a criminal gang backed up by a death squad while perched as the Mayor of Davao City for two decades. He eliminated small-time criminals and local competitors on his way to becoming the region’s biggest political warlord.

With his capture of the national government, Duterte has ushered in a Philippine era of State Gangsterism, where the entire government machinery and coercive instruments of the State are mobilized to entrench his erstwhile regional mafia in the national stage by eliminating political threats and neutralizing public opposition.

Duterte and his Davao Mafia in control of Malacañang are therefore but natural allies of jueteng and big-time jueteng lords. It is not far-fetched that his policy declaration of letting jueteng thrive is made in exchange for a cut in the business, a protection racket using the highest office of the land, and the deteriorating economy he is responsible for as his excuse.

This is what we get for letting a regional warlord and local criminal gangster boss occupy the presidency. We get a government at the service of a criminal enterprise, and a State machinery under the control of gangsters.

Our law enforcers have become the protector of the crime lord, while pretending to fight crime by arresting shirtless tambays and shooting down teenagers in slums. On the other hand, the AFP hierarchy rationalizes the biggest heist pulled off by the crime lord, the sell-out of national territory in exchange for protection from his own people and soldiers, as well as financial loans that are nothing but bribes and grease money.

We are under a national regime of State Gangsterism, with the biggest crime still pick up from where we left, instead of taking another 25 years to get back on track.

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
Rm. 502 & 16 (New Wing 5/F) GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Diokno Blvd., Pasay City

Trunk Lines:
(632) 552-6601 to 70 local no. 5750

Direct Lines:
807-8489 / (Rm. 16) 807-8580 /local 8619

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