‘Jueteng’: national security issue
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—I cannot understand why President Aquino has time and again stated that the eradication of jueteng is not one of the top priorities of his administration.
If we look back to the last elections, jueteng played a crucial role in electing corrupt leaders, especially at the local level where vote-buying and fraud were rampant. Two of Aquino’s staunch allies and pillars of good governance in our country, Among Ed Panlilio and Grace Padaca, lost in their respective re-election bids due to the millions of pesos used by their opponents in the last May polls. It was no surprise that their opponents (Lilia Pineda and Faustino Dy) were actually tagged by known anti-jueteng crusader Archbishop Oscar Cruz as among the top jueteng lords in our country. I am sure that many other effective and ethical leaders like Panlilio and Padaca lost in the last elections because of jueteng money.
President Aquino may have also forgotten that it wasn’t too long ago that jueteng payola allegations eventually led to former President Joseph Estrada’s fall from power in 2001. Jueteng, if left unchecked, will become a serious national security issue that may eventually dictate the outcome of Philippine politics in the coming years, much like how narcopolitics has gained control of Mexico and Colombia.
Some pundits have said that the reason Aquino has refused to categorically declare a full-scale war against jueteng is that he is afraid he may not succeed in eradicating this decades-old societal ill. For the sake of our nation and his promise to bring us toward the “matuwid na daan,” I’m hoping that these pundits are wrong.
—HARVEY S. KEH,
Kaya Natin! Movemen for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership,