GAMING tycoon Charlie “Atong” Ang defended himself on Monday, March 21, 2022, against allegations linking him in the disappearance of cockfighting enthusiasts (sabongeros) since 2021.
During the resumption of the Senate inquiry into the missing sabungeros, Ang said there is a conspiracy plot to put him down, possibly among his rivals in business, particularly in the operation of electronic cockfight betting (e-sabong).
Ang dropped the name of Bong Pineda, the owner of the Belvedere Corp., one of the major e-sabong operators in the country. Ang is the person behind the Lucky 8 Startquest.
“Bong Pineda siguro, maybe dahil sa power niya sa pera niya hawak niya ang president, ang pulis,” he said.
(Probably Bong Pineda, because of his money, he might have control over the president, the police.)
He also mentioned former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Camilo Cascolan and Mayor Elan Nagaño of San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija.
READ: 5 cops tagged in abduction of e-sabong master agent in Laguna
Ang doubted, however, the possible involvement of Deputy Speaker Arnie Teves of Negros Oriental and former Agbiag party-list congressman Patrick Antonio, who are also owners of e-sabong franchise.
At present, the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) is investigating eight incidents involving the disappearances of 34 sabungeros.
The sabungeros were allegedly abducted from cockpits in Manila, Laguna and Batangas that are operated by Ang’s company.
The CIDG filed on March 18 charges of serious illegal detention and kidnapping against eight identified security personnel of the Manila Arena and several others over the disappearance of John Claud Inonog, Marlon Baccay and his brother James, Mark Joseph Velsco, Rondel Cristorum and Rowel Gomez, all from Tanay, Rizal on January 13.
The respondents were identified as Mark Carlo Evangelista, Virgilio Pilar Bayog, Roberto Matillano Jr., Jonas Alegre Alingasa, Johnry Recapor Consolacion, Herolden Alonto, Gler Cudilla, a certain “Dondon,” an alias “Sir Chief” and six John Does.
Alias “Arvie” said he personally saw these people taking the victims in a gray van parked at the basement of the arena from a cockhouse inside the arena.
He tagged Matillano, Bayog, Consolacion and Julie Patidongan as among those involved in the abduction.
“Noong kinukuha po sila Inonog, nakatawag po sya sa Papa nya at nung pumunta doon ang Papa niya, pinicturan ang mga ID nila kaya nakilala ko po sila,” said Arvie.
Arvie said there was no commotion or unusual events when the security personnel took the victims, but he was keen to know what was going on and even secretly followed them to the basement because he was concerned, as they all came from the same place in Tanay.
Ang said Inonog’s father, Butch, is a big-time sabungero who could be involved in game fixing, based on their betting history.
He also tagged the Javillo brothers who were also big-time sabungeros as also involved in game fixing.
“Clear sa iyong presentation na itong mga Inonog at Javillo ay involved sa panonyope. Tumataya sa manok ng kalaban. Sino ngayon ang magagalit sa kanilang panonyope?” Senate committee chairman Ronald Dela Rosa said.
“Kung marami silang kausap na financer po kung maraming koneksyon si Inonog, bakit palaging manok nya ang kinokontra ng mga financer? Every time papasok ang manok niya, isang financer na ito kikita ng P8 million isang araw e ilan ba ang kausap niya?” Ang responded.
“Kung may isang fianancer ka na kausap at isang financer pa na iba tip mo at isa pa na iba ulit ang tip mo, hindi mo pinatama ibang financer na nagbigay sayo ng pera, mag-aaway away talaga yan, magpapatayan. Nagbebenta ng laro ang tawag dito,” he added.
Further pinning down Ang was Alvin Indon, also from Tanay, Rizal.
Indon said he, along with his company, including his brother, attended a derby at the Sta. Cruz, Laguna Arena operated by Lucky 8 franchisee in November 2020.
After their third entry, he said security personnel of the arena approached him and accused him of game fixing, which they denied. Indon and his acquaintance were brought to a “rest house.”
“Dalawa lang kaming dinampot, sabi sa amin wag na kayong lalaban baka kayo mamatay, sabi ko bakit wala kami kasalanan,” he said.
(They took me and another person, and we were told not to resist or else we will die. I told them we’ve done nothing wrong.)
Indon said the security personnel looking after them who was later identified as Patidongan called a certain “Boss A,” who ordered them to admit their involvement in game fixing.
He said “Boss A” was Ang, as he recognized his husky voice over the phone.
Indon said after admitting involvement in the scheme, they were arrested by the police but they were slapped with illegal drug charges, which they denied.
Indon identified one of the arresting cops as Patrolman Roy Navarete, whom he said assaulted him.
“’Yung isa po (na pulis) sabi pa po sa ‘min na bakit kasi si boss Atong pa ang binangga ninyo, hindi ninyo ba alam na pader yon,” he said, referring to Master Sergeant Michael Claveria.
Indon said Claveria told him that Ang called and offered P5,000 for each of their heads.
The cops denied, however, the claims of Indon.
Ang said he had been a target of harassment by an unknown group since 2019.
He said unknown persons hurdled grenades in his residence and at the Manila Arena on two separate occasions in 2021 and 2022.
He said this was the time he sought the assistance of the police and met with then CIDG-National Capital Region head Colonel Rogart Campo, who was later transferred as the provincial director of Laguna.
Ang doubted the character of Campo after he asked him to lie and claim he funded the construction of a building inside the Laguna police camp.
“Sino ba ang nasa likod ni Rogart? Bakit niya pinaplantedan ba niya ako na pumunta ako sa Kampo niya? Ano purpose noon hindi ko alam,” he said.
Ang is also digging hard on the credibility of the other witnesses linking him to the disappearances. (SunStar Philippines)