DUMANGAS, Iloilo -- At least 154 people were arrested and sent to jail by the police for conducting illegal cockfight in Dumangas, Iloilo, on Sunday, February 9.

Only 10 people can be held inside the jail when they were brought to the Dumangas Municipal Police Station (DMPS). As a result, almost all of them were confined at the compound of the police station.

With the bail of P15,000 each, some of the arrested slept inside and outside of the police station since Tuesday because of the holiday in Panay Island. February 11 is a local non-working holiday in Panay as it remembers the martyrdom of local Antique Province hero and former governor Evelio Javier who died in 1986. His assassination was one of the causes of the People Power Revolution that overthrew President Ferdinand Marcos.

As of Tuesday afternoon, only 18 have bailed.

According to the police report, joint elements of the Iloilo Provincial Police Office (IPPO), Provincial Special Operations Group (PSOG) led by Police Major Jonathan Pinuela and DMPS Chief Police Major Joeven Arevalo under the direct supervision of Police Colonel Roland Vilela conducted anti-illegal gambling operation around 6 p.m. at Barangay Pagdugue of this town and were able to catch 154 persons.

Vilela said the suspects were caught having cockfight without a permit.

“I might even charge them with Republic Act 7617 because there were children watching around while they are doing illegal activities,” Vilela said told the SunStar Philippines in an interview.

Based on the DMPS blotter entry no. 063018-202002-203, a “violation of the Republic Act 9287 or Illegal Gambling - Cock Fighting” were charged against 154 suspects who were arrested and brought at DMPS.

However, Republic Act 9287 states it is an “Act to Increase Penalties Against Illegal Numbers Games”

DMPS officer-in-charge Arevalo ordered all the suspects to stay on the compound of the police station outside the main building on Sunday night as they wait to be bailed out of from their arrest.

The police said the families of the suspects have already indicated they will bail them out in the coming days.

The suspects are guarded by the police at the gates and other exit points while their families are outside the compound waiting for instructions and gathering money to bail them out.

Cockfighting Law of 1974 is under Presidential Decree No. 449 signed on May 9, 1974. (SunStar Philippines)