Pangilinan, Hontiveros join calls for suspension of ‘e-sabong’ operations

Published March 1, 2022, 4:17 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Opposition Senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros joined their Senate’s colleagues call in suspending the operation of online cockfighting or e-sabong franchises until the resolution of the 31 missing “sabungeros” or cockfighting enthusiasts is resolved.

Senators Risa Hontiveros and Kiko Pangilinan (Senate PRIB/TRoPa2022)

Both lawmakers said they will join the proposed Senate Resolution 996 that will urge the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to suspend the license to operate of “e-sabong” operators pending the conclusion of the case of the missing sabungeros.

“Nakakagulat, nakakalungkot, at nakakagalit na dahil sa isang online gambling scheme ay may mga kababayan tayong nawawala. Panawagan ng kanilang pamilya ang agarang pagkahanap ng kanilang mga mahal sa buhay (Shocking, saddening, and it makes us angry that because of one online gambling scheme, we have fellowmen who are missing. Their families are calling for a swift search for their loved ones),” Pangilinan, who is running as vice president under the ticket of Vice President Leni Robredo, said in a statement.

Hontiveros, a reelectionist also under the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem, wants an investigation of the case.

“Hence, I fully support the ongoing Senate probe that will hopefully lead to the resurfacing of the 31 missing sabungeros and institutionalize measures moving forward to ensure that these disappearances won’t happen again,” she said in a statement.

“If there are criminal elements behind this, they must be brought to justice immediately,” she added.

READ: Dela Rosa, 22 senators sign reso seeking to suspend ‘e-sabong’ operations

Pangilinan warned people to avoid falling into “easy money” schemes, stressing that gambling does not bring anyone good.

“Hindi malayo na may iba pang mga nawawalang indibidwal dahil sa online sabong kaya naman sana’y tutukan talaga ito ng ating PNP at NBI. Huwag na nating antaying maging national crisis din itong usapin ng mga nawawala dahil sa sugal (It is not far-fetched to think that other individuals are missing because of online cockfighting which is why the PNP [Philippine National Police] and NBI [National Bureau of Investigation] need to focus on this. Let us not wait for this to be a national crisis),” the senator said.

The Senate resolution called for an “immediate suspension” of the license to operate of Beldevere 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.

This is in line with the confirmation from the PNP of the case of 31 missing individuals connected to online cockfighting.

Reports said that investigators are also working with different banks because of reports that unidentified persons withdrew from the missing people’s bank accounts via ATM.

PAGCOR Acting Assistant Vice President for E-Sabong Department Diane Erica Jogno said the agency will heed calls for the suspension of the licenses of the e-sabong.