By Benjamin Pulta
MANILA –Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Monday said he agrees with fellow lawmakers that licenses of electronic-sabong (cockfighting) operators be temporarily suspended while the cases of missing cockfight aficionados are unresolved.
An inquiry last week on the missing persons – 31 to date – had senators calling on the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to temporarily halt e-sabong operations.
“I reiterate my appeal to the PNP (Philippine National Police), NBI (National Bureau of Investigation), and other concerned agencies to act on this matter and resolve these cases immediately. I also urge PAGCOR and other government regulatory bodies to review their policies and ensure full compliance with security, surveillance, and records requirements to prevent these kinds of incidents,” Go said in a statement.
He also urged to bring to justice those involved in the disappearances.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III proposed the license suspension “until we find an acceptable conclusion to what’s happening to these 31 missing persons”.
PAGCOR E-Sabong Licensing Department acting vice president, Diane Erica Jogno, did not object to the proposal during the hearing.
Based on reports gathered by the Senate, a cockpit in Sta. Cruz, Laguna is particularly “notorious” as it had 23 reported missing persons.
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said the brazenness of the group behind the disappearances seems to project that they are as powerful as the PNP while Senator Grace Poe stressed the need to study the franchises granted to online gambling operators.
Senator Francis Tolentino questioned whether PAGCOR has the legal authority to regulate and issue licenses to e-sabong, live-streamed cockfighting matches that collect bets. (PNA)