The Senate has formally filed a resolution urging the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to suspend the operation of the popular “E-sabong” or online cockfights until the cases of the 31 missing cockfight aficionados are resolved.
Proposed Resolution No. 996, which expresses the sense of the Senate to strongly urge the PAGCOR to suspend the license to operate of “E-sabong” operators and to immediately stop all activities related to “E-sabong” until the cases of the missing sabungeros are resolved, was introduced by Senator Bato Dela Rosa and signed by 22 other senators.
PAGCOR is a government agency that regulates the operations of online cockfighting, or “E-sabong.”
Currently, holders of PAGCOR license to operate “E-sabong” are Belvedere Vista Corporation, Lucky 8 Star Quest, Inc., Visayas Cockers Club, Inc., Jade Entertainment and Gaming Technologies, Inc., Newin Cockers Alliance Gaming Corporation, Philippine Cockfighting International Inc., and Golden Buzzer, Inc.
Dela Rosa said President Rodrigo Duterte gave the impression that he supports the resolution.
“Per my short conversation with the President at the wedding of his grandson in Davao City, I got the impression that he supports the Senate resolution urging PAGCOR to suspend the license to operate of ‘E-Sabong operators’,” the legislator said.
The issuance of the resolution was initially approved last February 24 by the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs headed by the lawmaker during the first public hearing conducted by his panel on the said abductions.
“The operation of ‘E-sabong’ should be momentarily halted pending investigation.”
During the hearing, members of the committee arrived at a consensus “that the operation of ‘E-sabong’ should be momentarily halted pending investigation”.
It was Senate President Vicente Sotto III who had proposed that a Senate resolution be issued to urge PAGCOR to suspend the licenses issued to the seven “E-sabong” operators “until there is an acceptable conclusion to what happened to the missing personalities involved in the online cockfighting”.
In the hearing, it was found out that law enforcement agencies had difficulty investigating the cases of the missing persons due to lack or absence of material evidence, such as CCTV footage, which could have shown the victims hours or moments before they disappeared.
Dela Rosa earlier expressed suspicion that the abductions were carried out by trained suspects and organized groups.
“You can run, but definitely, you cannot hide from the long arm of the law.”
The senator issued a warning to the perpetrators of the abductions, “You (suspects) can run. You can run, but definitely, you cannot hide from the long arm of the law. Mahuhuli at mahuhuli kayo.”
The former Chief PNP believes that because of the gravity of the crime, some suspects may betray their cohorts.
“Sa laki ng krimen na ginawa ninyo, (31) na tao itong nawawala, hindi pu-pwedeng walang magde-demonyo sa inyo…Lalabas ang katotohanan…Kaya doon sa mga suspects, o suspect, kung sinong gumawa nitong krimen na ito, I just hope na kung buhay pa ‘yung mga kinidnap ninyo, ‘tinago ninyo, sana i-release na ninyo para makabalik sa kanilang pamilya,” he stressed.
“At kung sa sinamang-palad ay ito’y namatay na, eh sana naman bilang isang Kristiyano, or bilang kung kayo’y hindi Kristiyano, sana tulungan naman ninyong ma-recover ‘yung katawan, ‘yung bangkay nu’ng pinatay ninyo kung saan man ninyo ito ‘tinago, saan ninyo inilibing, para mabigyan ng magandang libing ang ating mga mahal sa buhay,” Dela Rosa continued during the hearing.
He has moved his committee’s next hearing to Friday, March 4. Expected to attend are the representatives of the licensed “E-sabong” companies and the alleged witnesses to the abductions.