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The evil that gambling does

Jesse Javier Carlos was a tax specialist of the Department of Finance (DOF) who was ordered dismissed from the service by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2012.

This was allegedly due to his failure to declare his house and lot in Tondo, Manila in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs) from 2003 up to 2006.

The Ombudsman also learned there were two farm lots bought by Carlos for P4 million despite the fact that he only had a total income of P2.4 million from 2001 up to 2011.

Apart from this, Carlos also failed to declare his wife’s business interest in Armset Trading in his 2010 SALN.

The Court of Appeals (CA) found Carlos guilty of dishonesty and affirmed his dismissal in 2015. The CA also imposed the cancellation of his eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification in government service.

Carlos never expected that a simple attempt at trying to outwit the government would lead to all the mess he found himself in.

Add to this the fact that Carlos was a casino gambling addict who incurred huge debts amounting to P4 million. On the request of his wife, Carlos was banned from all casinos operating under the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) from March 27, 2017 to March 26, 2018.

The debt he suffered caused the rift in his relationship with his wife and parents. It also forced him to sell his sports utility vehicle and real estate property in the province.

Carlos might have gone nuts due to all the pressure, especially after being included in the list of casino players ordered banned by Pagcor.

This could have fuelled his anger that led to his attack on Resorts World Manila (RWM) on June 2 where he torched gaming tables and fired several shots in the ceiling, before allegedly setting himself on fire in one of its rooms.

His assault also left 37 guests and employees of the casino dead due to smoke asphyxiation.

Carlos was a man who lost his government job and ruined his family after getting hooked on gambling. That was his personal issue and downfall.

But RWM has its own issues to settle. How could a man in combat attire and armed with an assault rifle breach its security? And why was the sprinkler system not activated? Were there not enough exits available to the guests?

Bear in mind that these could have prevented or somehow controlled the damage caused by the tragedy.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/ (Robert B. Roque, Jr.)

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