Azurin orders crackdown on guerrilla operations of online sabong

Gen. Rodolfo Azurin, Jr., chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), ordered on Monday, Dec. 5, a crackdown on what he describes as guerrilla operations of online cockfighting following reports that there are some groups that continue to defy a presidential directive to put a stop on the online gambling activity which is locally known as online sabong or e-sabong.

"There was already a presidential order (former president Rodrigo Duterte) to stop all e-sabong activities. But we monitored that there were guerrilla operations of e-sabong until now," said Azurin in a press briefing at Camp Crame in Quezon City.

"So I directed all units, regional directors, the provincial directors and even the CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and IG (Intelligence Group) to work together to hunt down all these personalities involved in the operations," he added.

Then president Duterte issued the order to stop all online sabong operations after the controversial abductions of at least 34 cockfighting players who all remain missing until now.

While the major operators of e-sabong already stopped the operations, there were some small groups and individuals that continue to use the online platform for cockfighting betting.

Azurin said that he also received reports that the guerrilla online sabong operations have been catering to overseas Filipino workers.

Deep effect

Aside from the abductions of cockfighting players, locally referred to as sabungeros, another reason why e-sabong was stopped was the impact of the game to the bettors who would be addicted to it.

In most cases, some bettors are forced to sell their properties and even to engage in illegal activities to continue betting on the game.

In the PNP, a handful of policemen were caught engaged in criminal activities, including robbery and carnapping. Those arrested admitted that they did it to sustain their addiction to online sabong.

Probe continues

While the CIDG has already filed cases to at least 15 personalities in connection with the missing sabungeros, most of the abduction cases remain unsolved.

Azurin said he already added manpower to continue the probe into the cases.

"I am making available the services and expertise of all PNP National Support Units to assist CIDG in succeeding investigations in support to parallel efforts of the Department of Justice," said Azurin.