Duterte on missing sabungeros: 'It's the fault of evil men'

Published March 18, 2022, 4:08 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

President Duterte has defended anew the continuous operations of online sabong or cockfighting, adding that the government is getting billions of pesos in revenues from it.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the inauguration of the new Leyte Provincial Capitol and distribution and turnover of various government projects in Region VIII at the Leyte Provincial Government Complex in Palo, Leyte on March 17, 2022. (ALBERTO ALCAIN / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO)

Duterte made the remark during his speech in Palo, Leyte on Thursday, March 17, amid calls of senators to suspend e-sabong operations following the disappearances of 34 individuals involved in the gambling activity since late December.

“The e-sabong gives government 642 million per month. In one year, it gives the government billions,” Duterte said.

“Now, the Senate wants me to suspend it. But why should suspend it when it is cockfighting? It’s legal. Why would the government permit it to operate if it’s illegal? So it must be good. Otherwise, why would they be granted a license if it is bad?” Duterte said in Bisaya.

The President likewise defended those operating the online sabong and told cockfighters to “straighten up their act and do it the legal way.” He also blamed the disappearance of the sabungeros on “evil men.”

“It’s not the fault of the management who are doing it fairly. It’s the fault of the evil men doing something wrong and they end up fighting,” Duterte said.

“Because if cheating is involved, you lose your patronage. People will be wary of placing their bets if something like that is happening. So that’s what happened there,” he added.

Duterte earlier said that he is still is against gambling in general but insisted that the government is only after the money.

Instead of suspending its operations, the President previously suggested stricter regulations like cutting the 24-hour operation of e-sabong licensees but later on decided against it when he realized the amount of money the government would lose.