The Philippine National Police has been told to continue investigating the disappearances of 34 people linked to e-sabong as a senate committee hearing into the matter draws to a close.
According to the state-run Philippine News Agency, the chairperson of the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, Ronald dela Rosa, has called on the Philippine National Police – Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) to continue looking for the missing cockfighting fans despite only minimal progress having been made.
“Even if we adjourn these committee hearings, I hope you will continue the investigations for the sake of justice for these people who are still missing as of the moment and hold the people behind this liable even if they’re influential,” Dela Rosa said during proceedings on Monday.
The PNP-CIDG reported that there are currently eight separate cases linked to the 34 missing people currently being investigated, with charges filed in two of those cases. They include three police officers allegedly involved in the Calabarzon administrative region, said to be linked to the disappearance of an e-sabong “master agent”. The officers have been identified as being involved in the agent’s disappearance by his family members.
“In the other incidents of missing [cockfighting fans], the PNP-CIDG will continue to conduct an investigation to gather more pieces of evidence as well as sworn statements of credible witnesses for eventual filing of appropriate charges,” said PNP-CIDG chief, Major General Eliseo Cruz.
The senate had previously called for e-sabong operations to be suspended while investigations were carried out, but this was rejected by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte due to the revenue the popular pastime generates for the government.