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23 local executives face raps over cockfights

The Office of the Ombudsman filed charges against the local officials for violation of the anti-gambling and cockfighting laws under Presidential Decrees 1602 and 449 before the Sandiganbayan yesterday. Toan Nguyen/CC0, File

MANILA, Philippines - Two town mayors and 21 other local government and barangay officials are facing criminal charges for allowing the holding of cockfights in their areas.

The Office of the Ombudsman filed charges against the local officials for violation of the anti-gambling and cockfighting laws under Presidential Decrees 1602 and 449 before the Sandiganbayan yesterday.

Galicano Atup, mayor of Ubay town in Bohol, was indicted for allowing a cockfight at the Union Cultural and Sports Center during a town fiesta.

Vice Mayor Nelsun Uy; Councilors Efren Tanjay, Victor Bonghanoy, Isidore Besas, Sabiniano Atupan and Eustaquio Bacolod; barangay captain Merlinda Gallego; village councilmen Rod Arthur Cañete, Alan Mendez, Letecia Bunado, Constantina Villasan, Antonio Cutamora and Johnny Jim Garces as well as barangay treasurer Arme Taan were included in the charge sheet.

The ombudsman said the respondents connived in “willfully, unlawfully and criminally” endorsing, allowing and approving the cockfight in an illegal venue.

The ombudsman said Fe Renomeron, mayor of Burauen, Leyte, allowed cockfights on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays in 2008. 

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Councilors David Alcober, Felipe Coral Jr., Antonio Tan, Luis Marlon Torres, Benoni Pocpoc, Ed Gabriel Guimba and Roger Serdoncillo were named respondents in the case.

Records show the respondents passed an ordinance authorizing the management of Barauen Games and Amusement Corp. to hold cockfights in the town in February 2008.

Under the law, cockfighting shall be allowed only in licensed cockpits during Sundays, legal holidays and town fiestas for not more than three days.

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