CEBU CITY—Seven elected officials in northern Cebu are facing administrative and criminal charges for allegedly participating in an illegal cockfight, locally known as “tigbakay”.
Police Brig. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro, chief of the Police Regional Office Central Visayas (PRO 7), said the seven elected officials were among the 23 men who escaped when police raided a “tigbakay” in Barangay Bitoon, Daanbantayan town last Saturday.
The raid resulted in the arrest of 31 persons.
The elected officials who were able to flee included four town councilors and three barangay chairpersons.
Police identified the three barangay chairpersons as Narciso Osabel of Maharuhay, Medillen town; Arnold Arcipe, of Dayhagon, Medillen; and Rodel Diamante of Colonia, Tuburan.
The four town councilors were identified as Bernardito Luche of Daanbantayan, Buena Pontillas of Tuburan, Moman Rivera of Borbon, and Abdon Cabahug of Borbon.
Ferro said it will be the Department of the Interior and Local Government that will be filing administrative cases against the elected officials.
“On the police side, we will file criminal cases for violation of the Republic Act 1602 or the anti-illegal gambling law and RA 11332 or the Bayanihan Act,” said Ferro.
Ferro said he was disappointed that elected officials were involved in the illegal cockfight “when they should set as a good example for their constituents.”
Ferro emphasized that mass gathering such as holding of cockfights remained prohibited to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“Barangay officials should not be the leader in the propagation of illegal gambling because it is the number one reason for the spread of COVID-19. It will put to waste our sacrifices to contain the spread of the virus. We have exerted a lot of efforts, we have sacrificed a lot with these lockdowns and yet there are still people who refused to follow protocols,” said Ferro.
Ferro warned that the police will continue to run after illegal gambling activities.
“We’ve arrested barangay officials in the past for organizing illegal cockfights. These elected officials should not think that they can get away because of their positions. No one is above the law,” Ferro said.