Laguna police director relieved over ‘links’ to sabungero disappearances

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Image from Google Street View

LAGUNA police director Colonel Rogart Campo, who was implicated in the cases of missing cockfight betting enthusiasts (sabungeros), was relieved from post pending the conduct of investigation on the disappearances.

Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Colonel Jean Fajardo said Wednesday, March 23, 2022, that Campo is currently under the personnel holding administrative unit of the PNP-Directorate for Personnel and Records Management in Camp Crame.

“’Yung kanyang administrative relief is to give way to the ongoing investigation para hindi nga po magkaroon ng insinuation na maaring magkaroon ng influence itong sinasabing opisyal sa ginagawang investigation po ng PNP relating dito sa missing (sabungeros) and of course, doon sa revelation ni Mr. Atong Ang concerning doon sa revelation niya na donation ng P1 million na allegedly ay tinanggap ni Colonel Rogart Campo,” he said in a press conference in Camp Crame.

During the resumption of the Senate investigation on the missing sabungeros on Monday, March 20, Ang accused Campo of attempting to pin him down and being a part of a conspiracy plot against him.

Ang was the owner of the Lucky 8 Star Quest Inc. which operates the three cockfight arenas in Laguna, Batangas and Manila where some of the 34 missing sabungeros were last seen before they were reported missing.

He recalled the two meetings he had with Campo -- first when Campo was still the chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-National Capital Region and second when he was already the provincial police director of Laguna.

During their first meeting, Ang said they were then asking for the assistance of the police as they were experiencing harassment following the grenade throwing in his residence and at the Manila Arena on separate occasions in 2021 and 2022, as well as game cloning.

Ang said he was surprised when in the middle of their meeting, Campo told him “Boss, gusto mo dukutin na lang namin eh” (Sir, if you want we can just abduct them), referring to those who are responsible for game cloning.

Campo said he could no longer remember saying such a thing but if he did, it was just “a slip of the tongue.”

“Hindi ko alam kung nagbibiro lang siya. Sino ba ang nasa likod ni Rogart? Siyempre iisipin ko yung mga kalaban ko sa negosyo,” said Ang.

Among the other e-sabong franchisees were Bong Pineda, owner of the Belvedere Corp., one of the major e-sabong operators in the country along with Ang; former PNP chief Camilo Cascolan; Mayor Elan Nagaño of San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija; Deputy Speaker Arnie Teves of Negros Oriental; and former Agbiag party-list congressman Patrick Antonio.

Ang doubted the involvement of Teves and Antonio in the conspiracy plot to bring him down.

Fajardo said as part of the investigation, those who participated in the meeting will be asked to issue an affidavit, which may or may not confirm Ang’s claim on Campo’s statement.

In their second meeting, Ang said Campo visited him and he was again surprised when the latter asked him to own up the construction of a building in the Laguna police camp.

Ang said he instead donated P1 million to Campo to finish the construction.

He questioned Campo’s motive for asking him to lie.

It was not certain yet what Campo did to the P1-million donation of Ang.

Aside from Campo, three other police officers assigned at the Laguna police office who were tagged in the alleged abduction of sabungeros have also been relieved from post and are now under restrictive custody at the Calabarzon regional police office.

Four family members of Ricardo Lasco, an e-sabong master agent who was abducted on August 30, 2021 from his residence in San Pablo, Laguna, identified Patrolman Roy Navarete and Police Staff Sergeant Daryl Paghangaan as among the 10 armed men who introduced themselves as members of the National Bureau of Investigation and took the victim along with their valuable belongings such as cell phone, cash and jewelries.

The two both denied the claim, saying they have evidence to prove they were in other places when the incident transpired.

CIDG Director Major General Eliseo Cruz said charges are being readied against five cops tagged in the abduction of Lasco.

Also mentioned during the probe was Police Master Sergeant Michael Claveria, who arrested, along with Navarete, two sabungeros being accused of game fixing in Sta. Cruz, Laguna Arena.

The sabungeros claim that Navarete and Claveria made it appear that they were arrested during an entrapment operation in another area, not inside the arena.

They said the police made up their arrest on the orders of Ang, who denied the claims.

The PNP has formed a special investigation task group to probe deeper the cases of missing sabungeros, which emerged amid the fame of e-sabong.

Fajardo assured that the PNP will be fair in the probe and will not tolerate the cops allegedly involved in the disappearances.

Aside from the PNP, President Rodrigo Duterte also ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct an investigation on the incidents. (SunStar Philippines)


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