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'E-sabong' to go on but Palace orders police, NBI to investigate disappearances

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
'E-sabong' to go on but Palace orders police, NBI to investigate disappearances
E-sabong involves remote betting on cockfights.
Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Wednesday ordered the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate the disappearances of 31 people linked to e-sabong.

E-sabong, which involves the remote wagering on cockfights, is regulated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., which the Palace also ordered to check operators' compliance with security requirements and with other commitments in their license agreements. 

The memorandum, signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on March 8, was issued in response to a Senate resolution asking Pagcor to suspend e-sabong operations until the cases of the missing sabungeros are resolved. 

The Palace said that e-sabong — estimated to be a P50-billion industry — will continue unless otherwise ordered.

The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, led by Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa, has held two hearings so far tackling the disappearances.

"The PNP and NBI are hereby directed to conduct a thorough investigation on the disappearances, and to submit its finding to the Office of the President and the Department of Justice within thirty days from the issuance of this order," the memo said. 

"Pagcor is also directed to conduct an investigation for any violation of its e-sabong licensees under their existing terms of agreement, and to ensure the compliance with the security and surveillance requirements...particularly the installation of CCTV systems in e-sabong gaming sites, among others," it added.

Twenty-three senators, including Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III and Dela Rosa, signed the resolution calling for the suspension of e-sabong operations.

Industry data shows that the e-sabong industry is a P50-billion that employs 385,000 employees, many of whom work as farm workers or cockpit personnel.

E-SABONG

PALACE

RONALD DELA ROSA

SENATE

TITO SOTTO

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