By Joseph Almer Pedrajas
The five Caloocan City barangay officials who went into hiding after being caught allegedly engaging in illegal cockfighting inside the Manila North Cemetery surrendered to Mayor Oca Malapitan on Saturday afternoon, several hours after they were publicly warned.
Malapitan made the announcement on his Facebook page and said the officials would face administrative charges and preventive suspension.
They were identified by the local government as: Barangay 129 chairman Brix John Reyes and barangay councilors Ronnie Ignacio, Alfie Lacson, Romualdo Reyes, and John Cris Domingo.
Their surrender came after both Malapitan and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso called on them to come forward, otherwise a manhunt operation would be conducted against them.
“Hindi natin kailanman kukunsintihin ang mga maling gawa ng ating mga opisyal. Magsasagawa ng sariling imbestigasyon ang Pamahalaang Lungsod ng Caloocan para maberepika ang sumbong,” Malapitan said.
(We will never tolerate the illegal acts of our officials. The local government will conduct its own investigation to verify the complaint.)
On Good Friday, the five officials managed to escape after they were caught by the Manila Police with several other men engaging in illegal cockfighting inside the Manila North Cemetery.
The incident was disclosed by Moreno in his public address through his Facebook page.
“Ano kayang mararamdaman niyo sa mga taong ito na naturingang barangay opisyal…ginawa po nila ‘yung pagsasabong sa loob ng sementeryo, kung saan nahihimlay nang mapayapa ang inyong mga mahal sa buhay,” he said.
(What would you feel about these people, who are elected barangay officials, engaging in cockfighting inside the cemetery, where your dear departed lie peacefully.)
Moreno then roamed around Reyes’ barangay following his Facebook Live to appeal to the latter’s constituents to present their head to the police.
Malapitan gave the assurance that he would turn over the barangay officials to the Caloocan City Police, who will then coordinate with the Manila Police.