Yes to Jueteng!

I AM HAPPY that P-Noy himself clarified categorically that while he is against jueteng, eradicating the illegal numbers game is not on top of his to-do list.  “That’s a low priority for me,” he said.

I surmise it saddened Archbishop Oscar Cruz, a staunch anti-gambling crusader, although I suspect that a good number of bishops heaved a sigh of relief, for they, too, receive jueteng payoffs.  Good example is an Ilocos prelate whose retirement house was built by a jueteng lord, a fact the man of cloth does not deny.  Then there are churches built or renovated using jueteng money, and sadly this includes the cathedral I used to frequent as a child.  The late Cardinal Jaime Sin justified this, saying “the church will accept money from the devil as long as it goes to the poor.”  Holy cow!

It should be noted that Jueteng, legal or illegal, has existed since the Spanish era.   A recent article from the Manila Bulletin notes that in 1893, lottery/jueteng tickets were openly sold even on board passenger boats to the Visayan islands and Mindanao.  One lottery addict was our hero Rizal, whose long stay in Madrid had attracted him to the institution of lottery.  On that year, the hero of the Malay race, while in Dapitan, won a substantial jackpot of P6,000, equivalent to at least a million pesos today, which he used to buy agricultural lands.

One wonders why, even after perennial government attempts to clamp the illegal numbers game down, it survives, and even flourishes.  One asks why it continues to pervade our local and national lives.

An answer can be gleaned from functionalist theory which explains that anything that has existed in society for a long time does so because it fulfills an important function.  It is there because it responds to a need.  It is there because it feels a gap.  It is there because it should be there, less a dysfunction exist.

Job generation is an essential function jueteng plays.  Hundreds of thousands of Filipino families are dependent on it, including Mandela, our middle-aged neighbor.  Mandy is a very efficient man.  He cheerfully goes around the neighborhood to collect bets all day and until the night.  A few minutes before the 12 noon, 6 pm, and 10 pm cut-off times, you would hear him shout “habooool.”

And when the winning combinations have been drawn, he would do the rounds again to keep the neighborhood posted.  Mandy has never been the subject of complaints.  Patient and trustworthy, he is well-loved in the community.

Hundreds of thousands of other Mandelas depend on jueteng to sustain their families.  Following the downfall of Erap in 2000, jueteng in our place, as with other areas in the country, halted for a while, and Mandela was left with almost no bread to break.  He was reduced to abject poverty, and it was not at all because he was lazy, God knows how hardworking and dedicated the man is, but only that there were no jobs.

And when people don’t have jobs, they are drawn to do things evil.  The old proverb is true:  an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.  Work gives dignity to man, it gives him meaning, a feeling of importance.  It makes one responsible.  You eradicate jueteng and render these people jobless, you lead them closer to vices and mischief while their families miss decent meals.

Saying that the poor should not gamble because they are poor speaks of double standard.  As a policy, government is not actually against gambling.  That is why there is the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, actually a euphemism for what should be called the Philippine Gambling Authority.  But, if a tycoon can go to casinos to squander as many millions as he wishes to, why can’t a taho vendor spend one peso for jueteng?  Choosing two numbers from 1 to 37, one could place a bet for as low as one peso and win over 400 pesos.  Five pesos can deliver you 2000 bucks, almost a month’s salary for a kasambahay.

Erap, ex-president and ex-convict, is not exactly an icon of intelligence but he makes much sense in saying that “the continued stigmatization and illegal status of jueteng is a form of discrimination of the poor, because the gambling pasttimes of the well-to-do have long been legal.”

What I consider as the most important function Jueteng plays is that it gives people hope, the kind of hope politicians and bishops should give but cannot.

Jueteng flourished during the Arroyo regime not only because Malacañang tolerated it and benefitted from it, but more because our people needed hope more than they ever needed it before.  La Gloria appearing on TV to announce that the economy grew by 7.3 never excited the people.  It only made us more depressed and agitated thinking why we remain poor and destitute despite the figures.  But Mandela announcing the winning numbers three times a day is three times a fountain of hope, three times something to look forward to, three times something to wake up to in the morning, to pursue at day, and dream for at night.

Hope, dear karikna, is a very crucial commodity.  Bereft of hope, people either go berserk or commit suicide.  “But it is false hope,” you might say,  to which I will argue that false hope is better than no hope at all, although the hope jueteng provides is not exactly false because there are true people who truly win every single day.  In an ideal world, there must be no need for Jueteng, but one only has to look around to know that Philippine society is the antithesis of the ideal.  And Jueteng is not a problem, but only a symptom of a bigger social malaise.

True, jueteng must be stopped as it has compromised the integrity of our social institutions: government, church, military and police, and even the media, but the best way to proceed is not through highly-publicized raids and useless senate investigations, but by addressing its raison d’être, the reasons it exists.

P-Noy vowed to bring back hope (not his brand of cigarette) to the people.  Let us see if the amount of hope he brings forth is enough, because if it is, jueteng can be contained faster than he can reach his destinations sans the wangwang, and even faster than he can propose marriage to Shalani.

I do not bet in Jueteng, and I have only learned about it from people who do.  Writing this column, I thought of personally talking to a jueteng cabo (chief collector) in our vicinity.  I see him and his team of cobradors everyday, but never before had the chance to talk to them.

After explaining to me exhaustively how jueteng works, the cabo asked for my “numero”.  Told that I have no money to spare, he said it is okay, and that he’d place for me a ten-peso bet.  He wanted to reward my curiosity.  I said 10-27, a combination my tongue churned out instantaneously, something I never thought about.

“Excellent,” he said, his eyes widening, gazing at my shining, shimmering, widening forehead, “the numbers mean , ‘mayamang kalbo’”.

Author: Herdy La. Yumul

A hesitant academic pimp, writer

37 thoughts on “Yes to Jueteng!”

  1. Lottery during the Spanish colonial time was not the same as the jueteng that we know now. Jueteng was actually introduced by the early Americans who came to the Philippines–and these are Americans who originally came from the South (as in the Confederate States during the US Civil War). Before it got to the Philippines, the same lottery called “Waiting” flourished among the agrarian “Southenas” in the context of a society where there was a very wide gap between the rich–plantation owners–and the poor–the majority of whom are basically African-Americans. These poor plantation workers placed their fortune in the hands of lottery agents who went around plantation villages selling lottery tickets. Then, in the afternoon when all the day’s work had been done, these exhausted workers idly sat back in the front porch of their abodes or leisurely sauntered around the yard, “waiting” for the lottery agents to echo the day’s winning lottery result.

    It is significant to notice that the state of widespread poverty was circumstantial in the pre-industrial US society where “waiting”/jueteng lottery thrived. This matter does not however necessarily/logically advance the assertion/insinuation that lottery only booms where poverty reigns .

      1. Now, this came from another source:

        ‘Contrary to what some are saying on television, the jueteng was not brought into the country by the “Chinese centuries ago.”

        ‘The sweepstakes started in the country during the Spanish times. Jose Rizal was even one of those who won in the loteria in the 1800s. The jueteng was brought in by the Americans through Clark Field at the turn of the century. It was a numbers’ game connoted by the Irish immigrant in New York called “waiting,” patronized among themselves and limited to certain areas, not the entire state.

        ‘Obviously, when those American soldiers of Irish decent were drafted and sent to the Philippines, as a form of pastime, it started in the American base of Clark Field until it spread out of the base and a tagalized name for it was adopted by the locals and called it “jueteng”. They meant “waiting” but spelt it wrongly.’

        (‘Contrarimiento a lo que algunos dicen en la television, la jueteng no fue traido al pais por el chino hace siglos.

        ‘El concurso se inicio en el pais durante la epoca espanola. Jose Rizal fue incluso uno de los que gano en la loteria en el 1800. El jueteng fue traido por los norteamericanos a traves de Clark Field en el cambio de siglo. Era un juego de numero “connotadas por los immigrantes irlandeses en Nueva York llamada “en espera,” patrocinado entre si y se limita a ciertas areas, no todo el estado.

        ‘Obviamente, cuando los soldados americanos de la irlandesa decente se redactaron y enviaron a las Filipinas, como una forma de pasatiempo, que comenzo en la base estadounidense de Clark Field hasta que se extendio fuera de la base y un nombre tagalized para su adopcion por los lugarenos y lo llamo “jueteng.” Querian decir “espera” pero malo escritos.’)

  2. i remember giving my mom random numbers to play jueteng when i was like 7 or 8 yrs old back in san nicolas and i remember getting P5 balato every time she wins! Hehehe! =D

  3. Yes huweteng is ok. Yes it gives hope to the poor. But the chance of winning is 665 is to 1. Iheard somebody said that total combinations is 666(excluding pompiyang). I also bet on huweteng but imight have shelled 1000 pesos before I won 700. If you win yoy forget what you lose kaya after winning comes the paala. Kapag may nanalo ng huweteng, inuman kaagad at pag may inuman, kadalasan, may gulo.

    Yong sinasabi mong politiko who about a clergy I heard was used to be the Huweteng Lord and when Estrada wanted to legalize it and have it handled by another person in that particular province nagalburuto na siya. Nawala ang pagiging kumpare at pagkakaibigan. Ang laking pera ang mawawala. The rest is history.

    This means that huweteng corrupted a lot of politicians. The primary beneficiary of huweteng are not the poor but the corrupt politicians and of course, the operators. No need to name names, most people know them. It corrupts the police, the Courts and almost all branches of the government.
    I hope PNoy is sincere about stopping huweteng. Remember, during Marcos time, there was no huweteng but after Cory was installed, huweteng was in all corners.

    Hanggat may Huweteng, mananatiling corrupt ang mg politico. Ayaw nilang malegalize. Dapat malegalized so that tha payolas for these poticong anak ng huweteng ay mapupunta sa mga programa ng gobyerno lalo na yong mga programang para sa mahihirap.

    1. There is STL already, but collectors also moonlight for Jueteng where they earn more. Also, there are even less chances of winning with STL with 1-40 numbers to choose from as opposed to jueteng’s 1-37.

      I think too much bureaucratic procedures should not be applied on such a simple game as jueteng so that its legalization could succeed.

  4. Hangga’t may Jueteng, hindi rin mawawala ang mga Senatong, Tongresmen, Gobernatong, Maytong, Tongsehal, Kabo, Sarhentong at Kapitong.

    An APPEAL to PNoy. If you are really sincere in good governance, lagalize Jueteng and have it managed by an Honest Official. The one who is already quarantined with the Virus of corruption. Or, completely eradicate it and create a program which is beneficial to the poor like having produce of which we are the exporters and not the importers like rice and sugar. We did that during the time of Apo Ferdie.

  5. A Governatorial Bet in Ilocos Norte sometime in the 1990s once said, “Jueteng dries the economy of a province. With 3x a day operation, hundreds of thousands or even maybe a million go out of the province everyday. A portion of these payolas goes to the pockets of the corrupt individuals to finance their kulasisis, gambling and drug vices.
    Look at a province somewhere in Central Luzon, do you think a well knon and recognized Jueteng Lord of Lord could win the election without Jueteng’s millions? These Lords and the tiyanak’s clan are one and the same.

  6. jueteng is already a part of our culture, it is an institution which can not be eradicated immediately by any president whatsoever his name, AQUINO, ARROYO or an ERAP.
    As what they used to say, if you can not beat ‘ em join ’em. LEGALIZE JUETENG so that proceeds from it will at least benefit the people. Unlike pork barrels, SOP and bribery, payolas being given by jueteng operators are being exclusively enjoyed by politicians and police officers , they do not benefit the people…

    1. Vinna, be specific. Everything we say and write in here is based on facts and truths. It is uncharacteristic to name names but we could do it in another venue. We base what we say out of our own experiences and by false and bias opinions. By your careless remarks, you may have hurt some. Again, just be specific.

  7. For me, no to Jueteng, and i don’t like the things that late Cardinal Jaime Sin justified that the church will accept money from the devil as long as it goes to the poor, because it is not the way of a church to help the poor. If it is a true church, it must not be doing something that is not according to to the law of god. Jueteng is a gambling, it is not of god, it’s from the devil. We can help the poor in some other ways or in a better way than JUETENG.

  8. For me ,no to Jueteng and i dont like the things that cardinal jaime sin justified that “the church will accept money from the the devil as long as it goes to the poor” because it is not the way of the church to help poor. if it is a true church it must not be doing something that is not according to the law of god. Jueteng is a gambling , it is not of god, its from the devil. We can help the poor in some other ways or in a better way than JUETENG.

  9. My mother is an avid fan of this so called game, you would often hear her shout out loud like a true winner whenever she almost bet at the right numerical combination but still unfortunate with only a difference of 1 or 2 numbers. She would also say sometimes ” Mangabak nak kuma ti jueteng tapnu ada pagbayad ko ti utang mi.”
    I agree that this might be a false hope, but it is better this way, at least a lot of people depends on it, and at least there is hope, rather than no hope at all.

  10. Para sa akin.,., walang naidudulot na maganda ang jueteng., sa pakontikonting pagtaya nito ng mga parokyano nito.,., siguro napakalaki ng halaga na ng pera ang kanilang nagagastos., wat if gamitin nalang ang tinataya nila para pambili ng mga pangangailan, tulad ng pagkain para sa pamilya.,., kaya sana matanggal na ang jueteng sa ating bansa.,. “NO TO JUETENG”!!

  11. Jueteng……for some people it is illegal but that is only for those people who do not bet in jueteng. But for those people who are enjoying it,it is only their past time. As what I observe in our community,jueteng is not only the thing that they are doing because t he time of collecting the bets is their free time so they can do other things if it is not time to collect bets.And most kubradors are housewives.Why?Because after or before they do their household works they can also be kubradors so that they can get extra income.But the sad thing is that the jueteng lords are the one that is enjoying the best of it.Most of the jueteng are politicians .So why do say yes for jueteng.We must say no.We must stop it.

  12. Upon reading this article, I found out that jueteng is advantageous to some churches, priests and to the poor and jobless people. I give hope of bread and butter on the table and provide hope of more money to use for their daily needs.
    If jueteng is stopped people without jobs would be more inclined to do evil things to find money. If the government think it’s right to legalize gambling in the PAGCOR so that the tycoon and the rich can gamble, why not legalize jueteng to if it can provide a way for the poor to get money for their daily needs, even once in a while only.
    I do not bet in the jueteng but due tto this article, I think jueteng is okay because it responds to a need… which is sustaining lives of the poor.

  13. Yes to jueteng din ako. Yes because it gives hope to many poor Filipinos. Pero ang hirap talagang tumama, swertehan lang talaga siguro. Naalala ko tuloy ung tito ko, minsan siyang nanalo, libre dito, inuman dun. Nabusog din naman ako kahit papano sa binili niya para samin. Haha! Pero hindi lang naman niya inisip kung pano kahirap ang manalo sa jueteng na yun. Hay. May mga tao talagang, nakahawak lang ng pera animo’y one day millionaire na. hehe. Love money and spend wisely ^-^

  14. Gambling has been a practice years go, but nowadays, it should be closed down. But if it gives benefit to most people, like Jueteng, should we shut it down? The answer is resounding, absolutely YES! It is still a type of gamble. But despite of the raids that the government is doing, Jueteng is still there. If these publicized steps even make the spread of Jueteng more easier, I guess abolishing it silently would be the best remedy. It doesn’t only disrespects the law of the government, but also the law of our Almighty Being that we should be pure.

  15. AGREE!!
    Maraming makikinabang pag naging legal ang jueteng sa bansa.
    Sa hirap ng buhay ngayon maraming tao ang dun na lamang umaasa,,at pag legal ito madami itong mapapasok na pera sa ating gobyerno.
    Dahil ang jueteng ay isang sugal siguro ang tingin ng karamihan ay masama lng ang maidu2lot nito satin,pero sana lawakan dn ang pag iisip at alamin kung anong mas nakabubuti para sa ating bansa,:-)

  16. Hope, a sign from Filipino people that a single peso makes their life in a day change, I still remember when a cobrador pass into our store and she ask what’s my no. I was curiously told 7 11, and she ask how much, how many limit, and I don’t know what to answer I just gave her 5 peso, after that my friend (older than me) ask me if the cobrador passed by, I told him that she ask my number, he scolded me not because I joined gambling it’s because I didn’t call him and ask his number and they have some bussines to talk to. Since Filipinos are very hospitable and if gambling with a sack of hope handling gold will knock into their doors it a great pleasure with them to meet this things, and if some people know that the probability of winning the gold of what the bag of hope is holding then it’s time to retreat their hope. Cobrador’s are one of the small petty media people in the community they are the one who are updated to news of other people (it’s a fact or fallacy), gossip is in the blood of Ilocano’s (not all, but the percentage is, 8 is to 10). In this society jueteng is natural, it is part of the culture of the people in a community, In all aspects it is the root of a simple evil but in all angles this is a simple gambling life of some people, we don’t need to be good what we need is we are happy of what we are doing .

  17. Yes to jueteng. Bakit di pa natin gawing legal ang jueteng, nandyan na at talamak na sa mga lugar dito sa ating bansa, nagging parte narin ito ng pangaraw-araw na buhay ng pinoy. Mapabata, matanda, babae o lalake, guro, doctor, magsasaka, maging mga pulis sangkot sa aktibidad na ito. GAWIN NG LEGAL dahil mahirap na itong alisin sa buhay ng isang pinoy.

  18. In our place jueteng has not stopped for a day. I tried to bet for many times but unfortunately I havent yet experienced how to win.hehe.i hate politicians and policeman because they are benifiting from jueteng. People are used to the day by day routine of cobradors.when will it be stopped.??big question..but really its really hard to stop illegal things like jueteng..

  19. I don’t think jueteng is good. I say no to jueteng because for me it is a form of gambling. And gambling is against God’s will. But I think jueteng cannot be easily eradicated because it already became a part of the Filipino culture. Even when I was still in my younger age, jueteng already exist. And how i wish the government will discuss about this issue.

  20. the government should legalize jueteng because many people is into it. Even though the government is prohibiting the practice in playing jueteng there are still many people who is doing it.Jueteng is game for the poor people who can’t afford to go to the casino to play those legalize game there. the government have legalize the casino that they are talking so why don’t they also legalize the jueteng.
    as what former president estrada have said. if it is a game of the poor it is illegal but when a game of the rich it’s legal.In order to be fair, they must legalize it so that he government can get income also with it. Who knows it can also help for the progress of our country.

  21. For me,I don’t like jueteng.Definitely, he (Mr. Aquino) frowns on jueteng. He frowns on illegal gambling.In the past, no less than members of the Catholic Bishops’ where all of them are anti to jueteng.without a clear policy on gambling so far, the government will maintain the status quo on illegal forms of gambling such as the Small Town Lottery (STL), a known front for jueteng are vise do this day but more of them are harmful to financial problem,like cardinal jaime sin where all of things will accept money from the evil,i don’t agree for her comment.

  22. Laganap ang jueteng saan man sa pilipinas. Hindi na ito maalis sa atin dahil itoy tradisyon o kultura na sa mga Pilipino. Sa jueteng kailangan mo muna makagasto ng ng 100 bago makapanalo ng 700. see! Kung ano nagagawa ng jueteng. Hindi natin namamalayan dahil unti unti lang naman kasi kung ma g taya.
    For me, hanggat may jueteng mananatiling corrupt ang mga politiki kaya dapat iligalize ang jueteng para hinndi politico lang ang nabebenipistyaran.

  23. I’m agree to Jueteng. as of now, Jueteng is illegal, but in some parts of our country, there are lots who are playing Jueteng. Well, one of it is our place where people playing on it. I observe that their day will not complete without this thing. But because of what happened in our history, this Jueteng cause lots of corruptions in our dirty government. I guess Jueteng is hard to be legalize at this time.

  24. It’s hard to stop Jueteng. It’s because its the people’s choice. It’s Yes to Jueteng if people depend on this thing. For them to bet their coins everyday isn’t a lost and to win is jackpot. It’s try and try until there will come a time, you’d strike and your happy. It’s against church but I guess many pray to God to let them win.

  25. Ang jueteng ay hindi na maalis sa ating buhay. Sa tingin ko, sa ating mga Pinoy parte na ito ng ating kultura. Parte na ito ng pang araw araw nilang ginagawa, sa mga tumataya. Dapat ang simbahan ang tumututol sa mga illegal na gawain. Ngunit sa aking nabasa nakikinabang pala ang simbahan sa pera ng jueteng. Ang jueteng ay hindi biglaang mawawala sa pamayanan. Dahil sa ibang tao, ito ay nagbibigay ng pag asa sa kanila kung sila ay papalaring manalo. Karamihan sa mga tumataya ay walang trabaho kaya naman sila ay sumusugal at tumataya. Okay lang naman ang jueteng sa akin dahil sa ibang banda may magandang naidudulot ito. Itoy nagpapakain sa kanilang pamilya at nagsusustento sa pang araw araw na pangangailangan sa pamilya ng nagpapataya. Pero mas mabuti na ring maghanap ng desenteng trabaho.

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daytoy ti bunga ti rimkuas nga iliw ken abrasa dagiti lagip iti selsel met la a nagtaudanna...

Herdy Yumul

Blogger/Columnist/Book Author


Got Stuck Beneath the Ink of Pen And Aperture of Lens

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