THE Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) has arrested six individuals allegedly involved in the disappearance of six cockfighting enthusiasts (sabungeros) in Manila in 2022.
The CIDG identified the arrested individuals as Julie Patidongan, Mark Carlo Zabala, Virgilio Bayog, Roberto Matillano Jr., Johnry Consolacion and Gleer Codilla who have a standing arrest warrant for kidnapping and serious illegal detention issued by the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 40.
Two companions of Patidongan, namely, Melchor Neri and Victorino Jocosol, were also arrested for obstruction of justice.
The suspects were security personnel of the Manila Arena where victims John Claud Inonog, Marlon Baccay and his brother James, Mark Joseph Velsco, Rondel Cristorum and Rowel Gomez, all from Tanay, Rizal, were last seen on January 13.
In a closed circuit television camera (CCTV) footage, the suspects were seen taking the victims from the cockpit arena on board two vans.
In August, the lone witness in the alleged abduction of the six sabungeros backed out of the case as he expressed disinterest in the case.
The six sabungeros were among the 32 cockfighting aficionados who went missing since 2021.
The series of disappearances of these sabungeros from Manila, Batangas and Laguna prompted the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs committee to launch an investigation on the matter.
The cockpits in Manila and Laguna were being operated by Lucky 8 Star Quest Inc., which is owned by gaming tycoon Atong Ang.
The Senate recommended for the PNP-CIDG and the National Bureau of Investigation to further investigate the officials of the Lucky 8 Star Quest Inc. including its owner, after his name was repeatedly mentioned by witnesses during the hearings.
Patidongan was also charged over the disappearance of Michael Bautista who was last seen outside a cockfighting arena in Sta. Cruz, Laguna on April 28, 2021. (SunStar Philippines)