MANILA, Sept. 12, 2012— President Benigno Aquino III only has to say the word, and the country will get rid of the illegal numbers game “jueteng”, retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz said.
According to him, he will emphasize this point in the Senate inquiry over jueteng and alleged shenanigans of resigned Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Rico Puno on Friday.
“I will just put up some principle that if jueteng will not stop in the country notwithstanding all the beautiful laws and decrees, it’s not because of the legislative but of the executive department,” Cruz said.
“The executive department is tasked to implement the laws. The legislative can just make laws. No matter how heavenly our laws if the executive is sleeping on it nothing happens,” he said.
The vocal critic against gambling stressed the matter all boils down to the Aquino administration’s political will.
The archbishop was earlier cool to attending another inquiry on jueteng but later changed his mind following a formal invitation from the Senate, which he only received last Tuesday.
However, he said he does not have new expose because he already gave all the information he has about jueteng in the past investigations.
“They are not asking for data. I was asked to do something else specifically on jueteng. What is it all about, etc. I think I might be able to contribute something,” according to Cruz.
In the 2010 Senate inquiry on jueteng, the church official identified Puno as one of the ranking Aquino administration officials who are receiving monthly payola from the multimillion-peso underground lottery.
To date, he said, jueteng that toppled President Joseph Estrada in 2001 and tarnished President Gloria Arroyo’s administration is alive as ever under the present government.
“The picture hasn’t changed… It is still the same as far as jueteng is concerned,” Cruz said.
He reiterated that jueteng flourishes because it is protected by corrupt government and police officials who are benefiting from it through bribes and payoffs. [RL/CBCPNews]