Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday urged the government to rethink its position on e-sabong following reports of at least 30 persons who have gone missing after being involved in the activity and other incidents related to the online cockfighting game.
“We once again call on the government to rethink their position on e-sabong and to act immediately on these cases,” Cayetano said on February 23, 2022.
He said the recent incidents related to e-sabong are the consequences of allowing it to proliferate in the country.
Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs, has scheduled an investigation on Thursday, February 24, to help find solutions to the growing problem of Filipinos’ addiction to e-sabong.
He said representatives of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) will be invited to the investigation to help solve the mystery behind the abduction of about 30 men amid reports that these disappearances were tied to e-sabong.
Cayetano said other incidents have occurred due to e-sabong, including the case of Laguna patrolman Glenn Angoluan who was arrested on February 21, 2022, after robbing a gasoline station in Santo Tomas, Batangas to pay off his e-sabong debts.
He also pointed to the case of 19-year-old Erick John Suelto from Maco, Davao de Oro who was arrested in November 2021 for failing to pay off his debt from e-sabong.
“‘Wag nating hintayin na mas marami pa ang mawala at mabaon sa utang. Let’s protect our kababayans, especially our youth,” Cayetano said.
He also said the revenue generated by the game is “not worth the lives of the youth and the destruction of our society’s moral fiber.”
Cayetano said instead of online gambling, the government should “create more jobs and livelihood opportunities, a chance to change the way they live their lives.”
He also called on the public, including his fellow candidates in the 2022 elections, to speak up against e-sabong, referring to the online cockfighting game as “the new pandemic.”
“We have to speak up against e-sabong because the future of our country and the future of our children and their children depend on us. Let us not let this new pandemic threaten and destroy our values, and more importantly, break our families, put our communities in conflict, and create a nation struggling to provide service to those who are addicted to it,” he said.
Cayetano has been vocal against e-sabong which he said is “known to be addictive and can drive people to do things just to continue their vice.”
House Bill No. 10506 was filed in Congress in September last year aiming to grant Visayas Cockers Club, Inc. a 25-year franchise to operate off-site betting stations anywhere in the country.
If the bill gets passed on third and final reading, Visayas Cockers Club Inc. will be the second licensed e-sabong operator in the country to be granted a 25-year franchise, following Lucky 8 Star Quest, Inc. whose franchise was approved in September last year.