THE three dismissed cops who were accused as behind the missing e-sabong (electronic cockfight betting) enthusiasts, locally known as “sabungero,” in San Pablo, Laguna surrendered to police, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Rodolfo Azurin said on Monday, January 23, 2023.
In a press conference, Azurin said Daryl Paghangaan, Roy Navarete and Regil Brosas, who all have standing arrest warrants for charges of robbery, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, are now under police custody.
Paghangaan and Brosas surrendered on January 19, while Navarete turned himself in on January 21.
“We are looking a good breakthrough especially if they are going to cooperate because medyo matagal na itong problema natin sa missing e-sabong na iniimbestigahan in the hope na itong mga pulis natin na ito would really cooperate,” said Azurin.
(We are looking for a good breakthrough especially if they are going to cooperate because we have had a problem with this missing e-sabong enthusiasts’ case for quite some time now.)
“Of course, the only assurance that we can give them siguro is if we can see na medyo lesser naman ang kanilang participation, then we can course them through the witness protection program (WPP) and it will be the WPP who will be evaluating if they are qualified to be protected under the WPP program,” he added.
(Of course, the only assurance that we can give them maybe is if we can see that their participation is less, then we can course them through the Witness Protection Program (WPP) and it will be the WPP which will be evaluating if they are qualified to be protected under the WPP program.)
Azurin also assured the safety of the families of the accused.
On January 17, the San Pablo Laguna Regional Trial Court issued an arrest warrant against Paghangaan, Navarete and Brosas, former members of the Calabarzon police, who were positively identified by several witnesses as among those who forcibly took e-sabong master agent Ricardo Lasco from his residence in August 2021 by a virtue of an alleged fictitious arrest warrant for estafa.
They also allegedly took the victim and his companion’s jewelries, cash and other valuable belongings.
Lasco is still missing as of January 23 and his disappearance is one of the eight cases, involving 33 other sabungeros being investigated by the PNP.
The three cops, along with two others identified as Michael Claveria and Henry Sasaluya, were dismissed from the service in December 2022 as the Internal Affairs Service has found substantial evidence on the administrative charges filed against them in relation to Lasco’s disappearance. (SunStar Philippines)