Sotto: Duterte OK’s suspension of online ‘sabong’ licenses

Published February 28, 2022, 12:47 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III said Monday, Feb. 28 said that President Duterte agrees with the suspension of e-sabong or online cockfighting licenses in light of the disappearance of at least 31 cockfighters (sabungeros).

In a town hall meeting in Lucena city during a campaign swing of the Lacson-Sotto tandem, Sotto said Senator Ronald dela Rosa was told by the President that he would allow the suspension of licenses of online cockfighting (e-sabong).

Dela Rosa, chairman of the Senate Public Order and Dangerous Drugs committee, conducted last week a committee hearing on the disappearance of 31 persons involved in cockfighting, some of whom went missing last year.

During that hearing, Sotto moved that a resolution be filed by Dela Rosa’s committee calling for the suspension of online sabong operations until the disappearance of the “sabungeros” is resolved.

Sotto’s motion was seconded by Senator Panfilo M. Lacson and eventually adopted by the Senate committee. That resolution was expected to be sent to President Duterte by courier sometime today.

Lacson, chairman of Partido Reporma, is seeking the presidency while Sotto, chairman of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), is running for the vice presidential post.

Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) Vice President of E-Sabong Licensing Department of Pagcor, Diane Erica Jogno, told senators then that the agency has no objection to their move.

Jogno, however, said Pagcor would also seek the approval of the Office of the President.

Earlier, Senator Francis Tolentino questioned the issuance by Pagcor of licenses to e-sabong operations.

He said Republic Act 9487, the charter of Pagcor, has no provision authorizing Pagcor to issue regulations and licenses to e-sabong operations.

Senator Joel Villanueva also said it is clear in section 10 of RA 9487 that e-sabong is not included in activities that Pagcor could issue licenses to.