(Left) File photo of Ferrol town mayor Jovencio L. Mayor Jr., captured from a DOH CHD Mimaropa video posted on October 16, 2020, in which he issued a message about the Chikiting Ligtas campaign to protect children from measles, rubella, and polio. (Right) The Tubigon Square Garden cockpit arena in Barangay Tubigon, Ferrol town in Romblon taken on February 6, 2022.

Ferrol town mayor Jovencio L. Mayor Jr. of Romblon and an estimated 200 individuals were arrested Sunday morning inside the Tubigon Square Garden, identified as a cockpit arena, in Barangay Tubigon, the Police Regional Office (PRO) in MIMAROPA reported.

Their arrest was the result of the joint operation carried out by the Criminal Investigation Detection Group (CIDG)-Romblon Provincial Field Unit with the Ferrol Municipal Police Station (MPS), and Romblon Provincial Mobile Force Company (RPMFC) under “Oplan Bolilyo”, an initiative against illegal gambling.

According to a statement given by PRO MIMAROPA, CIDG-Romblon received information regarding the square garden continuing to operate despite Romblon being on Alert Level 3.

PRO MIMAROPA said Mayor and the 200 others were caught in the act of engaging in cockfighting, which violates IATF Resolution No. 159-A, Series of 2022, issued on January 29, 2022, and Presidential Decree 449 or the Cockfighting Law of 1974 as amended by Presidential Decree 1602.

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An undetermined amount of bet money, gambling paraphernalia, and an undetermined number of dead and live fighting cocks with attached gaffs were confiscated from their possession and control.

The suspects are currently being held by the Romblon PMFC, while the CIDG Romblon PFU, in collaboration with the Ferrol MPS, is preparing paperwork to file a complaint with the provincial prosecutor’s office in Odiongan, Romblon.

“I laud the CIDG Romblon, and other PNP operating units for this very remarkable accomplishment. May this serve as a stern warning for other elected officials and illegal gamblers that MIMAROPA police will enforce the law without fear and favor”, said P/Brig. Gen. Sidney Hernia, regional director of PRO MIMAROPA.

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