Updated

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte said that, as much as he hates gambling, he suggested that policemen leave small-time “neighborhood pastimes”, like the illegal numbers game, alone as these keep money circulating in the community.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the 118th Police Service Anniversary at Camp Brigadier General Rafael T. Crame in Quezon City on August 9, 2019. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO/ MANILA BULLETIN

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the 118th Police Service Anniversary at Camp Brigadier General Rafael T. Crame in Quezon City on August 9, 2019. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO/ MANILA BULLETIN

Duterte made the statement as he graced the 118th Police Service Anniversary Celebration in Camp Crame Friday evening.

In his speech, Duterte said that the police should just focus on addressing the drug problem rather than deal with people engaged in what he called were neighborhood pastimes.

“Ito namang mga (Now for the) last two-last two [digits], ‘wag na ninyong pakialaman ‘yan (Just forget about them). It’s a neighborhood activity. Tapos ‘pag hulihin ninyo (then you’ll arrest them),” he said, recalling that he used to bail out those engaged in such activities when he was still mayor.

“Magpatay na lang kayo ng durugista diyan, pakialaman ‘yang (Don’t mind them, just kill the drug addicts)…” he jested.

However, Duterte urged policemen to do something immediately once a syndicate takes over such activity.

“Those are pastime neighborhood activities. ‘Wag lang pumasok ang sindikato. ‘Pag ang Last Two hawakan with (As long as syndicates don’t step in. If the Last Two is run by) people who are known to be gamblers and professional manipulators, you have to intervene,” he said.

He said he cannot arrest them all even if he hates gambling because he does not have an alternative livelihood for them. He also feared that something else might take over.

“Yung mga machines diyan, hayaan na ninyo. Wala na tayong baka ibigay na trabaho, eh (Those horse-racing machines, leave them alone. We have no jobs for them),” Duterte said.

“Of course, I never really liked gambling, I don’t gamble. But the fact is if I create a vacuum and nature hates one, there will always be another activity that would take advantage of that organized people,” he added.

Last year, Duterte said he will leave jueteng “for now.” He supported this statement in June this year when he said he preferred jueteng since it was the lesser evil compared to illegal drugs.

“Maski sinong Presidente ilagay mo dito (No matter who the President is), for as long as the economy does not really provide food on the table for so many families, hayaan mo na lang ‘yan (you should just let it be),” he said in June.

“At least ang pera doon… Kasi hindi ko talaga rin kaya. At pagka sinira ko ‘yan, ang papalit sa apparatus niyan droga (At least the money there is… And I cannot end it because drugs will take over). So choose between the lesser evil,” he added.