Senate panel wants to suspend e-sabong operations until disappearances resolved

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
Senate panel wants to suspend e-sabong operations until disappearances resolved
E-sabong involves remote betting on cockfights.

MANILA, Philippines —  A Senate panel on Thursday is moving to urge the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to suspend e-sabong operations across the country following the disappearance of 31 people allegedly involved in the online cockfighting games, now a P50-billion industry.

"The magnitude of what has happened, of what is transpiring, in the light of these and the continuing investigation, I move that the Committee on Public Order issue a resolution to the Pagcor to suspend all the licenses of the e-sabong operators until we find an acceptable conclusion to what is happening to these 31 missing personalities," Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III said during a hearing on Thursday. 

Sen. Francis Tolentino also suggested for the resolution to call for the temporary removal of the e-sabong payment system on GCash. 

Sen. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, who chairs the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, ordered the panel's secretary to prepare the resolution.

Resolutions express the collective sentiment of a body about a certain issue or event. 

If the Pagcor suspends all e-sabong operations, seven licensed companies stand to be affected:

  • Belvedere Vista Corp. which owns the Sabong Express
  • Lucky 8 Star Quest Inc., which owns Pitmasters Live
  • Visayas Cockers Club, Inc. which owns Sabong International Ph
  • Jade Entertainment and Gaming Technologies, Inc. which owns Jade Sabong
  • Newin Cockers Alliance Gaming Corp. which owns (NCA)
  • Philippine Cockfighting International Inc. which owns Platinum Cockers Club; and
  • Golden Buzzer, Inc. which owns BAGWISAN

The latest count shows that 31 people reportedly involved in e-sabong operations went missing. The earliest reported disappearance of four individuals took place in April 28, 2021. The latest one, where six people were allegedly abducted, happened on January 13, 2022. 

The Pagcor official present at the event, Diane Erica Jogno, said they are OK with the Senate's resolution. 

"As guided by our top management, we are OK with suspending the operations and we will also seek approval po from the Office of the [President]," Jogno, who is the acting assistant vice president of the Pagcor's e-sabong department, said. 

Pagcor is in charge of regulating e-sabong, according to the Office of the Solicitor General and Department of Justice. Online sabong refers to the remote wagering of bets in live cockfighting events or those streamed live from the cockpit arenas. 

Meanwhile, local government units are in charge of regulating live cockfighting events.

Industry data shows that e-sabong is a P50-billion industry that employs 385,000 employees, with many working as farm workers and cockpit personnel.

READ: The e-sabong republic

During the hearing, Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, said these cases of the missing e-sabong aficionados are a big challenge to the police force and law enforcement community. 

"Failing to resolve these cases will be a big slap or an embarrassment to the PNP as well," he said. 

vuukle comment




  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with