PNP chief admits challenges vs e-sabong

Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star
PNP chief admits challenges vs e-sabong
New police officers from the National Capital Region Police Office on June 11, 2023.
STAR / Jesse Bustos

MANILA, Philippines — Eradicating online sabong or cockfighting has been a challenging task for the Philippine National Police, PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. said yesterday.

In an interview over dzRH radio, Acorda said they continue to monitor e-sabong operations in the country.

“There are still e-sabong operations we detect and these are being addressed by our ACG,” Acorda said, referring to the Anti-Cybercrime Group.

At least 41,000 people were arrested in 50,000 anti-gambling operations across the country from January to June, Acorda said, citing PNP data.

The ACG has intensified its cyber-patrolling to take down e-sabong websites in coordination with the National Telecommunications Commission and other concerned agencies.

Among the challenges the PNP has encountered is in prosecuting suspects in courts.

“We are encountering some problems in enforcement because there are problems with our laws, like the lack of betting if we make arrests,” Acorda said.

He did not go into details but said the issue has something to do with the betting.

A security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, earlier said e-sabong operations have evolved to elude law enforcement operations.

The official said e-sabong operators, or master agents, are no longer streaming their games to a larger audience, but only to groups of gamblers who are screened before they are allowed access to the websites.

Acorda said another challenge is that the people involved in e-sabong are anonymous. He said those who handle the fighting cocks are masked.

Acorda earlier ordered police units to intensify operations against all forms of illegal gambling.

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