INTERIOR and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año warned on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, of the arrest of those who will violate the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to stop the e-sabong (online cockfight betting) operations.

Año said Duterte’s order is valid even without the implementing rules and regulations (IRR), noting that the memorandum issued by the executive secretary Tuesday night, May 3, ordering the suspension of e-sabong will suffice.

“Wala namang sophistication diyan sa utos ng Pangulo. Kapag sinabi ng Chief Executive na hindi na pupuwede ito at ito naman ay ayon na rin sa kapangyarihan ng Pangulo, ipapatupad natin yan. Kapag sinabing stop, stop na yan,” he said in a radio interview.

(There is no sophistication in the President’s order. If the Chief Executive says it is no longer allowed, then we will implement it. If it’s ordered stopped, then it should be stopped.)

“Wala na ano mang technicalities, mga justification. So ganun lang naman kasimple. Kung hindi ka susunod, eh di mananagot ka sa batas at expect mo na magkakaroon ng pag aresto diyan sa mga hindi susunod,” he added.

(No more technicalities or justifications. It’s that simple. If they won’t follow, then they will answer and expect that arrests will happen.)

Año said cops were already given orders to include in their patrolling the implementation on the suspension of e-sabong.

Despite earlier apprehension to stop e-sabong operations due to revenue issues, Duterte ordered its suspension following the recommendation of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The DILG conducted a survey, which showed that out of the 8,463 respondents who were directly or indirectly involved in e-sabong, 62 percent want it stopped, 34 percent want its continuity but with stricter measures and four percent are completely supportive of it.

Among the reasons cited by the respondents for opposing e-sabong are addiction to gambling, bankruptcy of players, indebtedness, cost to family, neglect of work and studies, and crime.

At least 34 e-sabong enthusiasts have gone missing since last year. It has been a subject of investigation of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

There were also plenty of reports about the commission of crimes due to e-sabong addiction.

In March, a 22-year-old mother reportedly sold her eight-month-old daughter for P45,000 to settle her debts due to online sabong.

The baby was later on rescued from those who “adopted” her and she is now under the care of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

E-sabong has also taken a toll on the image of the PNP after several policemen were either tagged in the cases of missing sabungeros or have been involved in illegal activities due to their gambling addiction. (SunStar Philippines)