Philippine families call for progress on disappearances linked to e-sabong

E-sabong operations were suspended in May.
E-sabong operations were suspended in May.

The Department of Justice has yet to recommend whether criminal charges should be filed against those allegedly responsible for the disappearances.

The Philippines.- Families are calling for action after a lack of progress in investigations of the 34 disappearances connected to the e-sabong industry between April 2021 and January 2022.

Former President Rodrigo Duterte eventually bowed to pressure and suspended legal online cockfighting in May after 23 senators signed Resolution No. 996 calling for a suspension. But after months of investigation, little progress has been made in relation to the disappearances that sparked the ban.

Families of the missing cockfight bettors met with justice secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla today (December 2) and called for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to make progress on its investigation. However, Remulla did not respond to questions about what was causing the delay.

On Thursday, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the family of another missing e-sabong bettor, Michael Bautista, filed a complaint for kidnapping and serious illegal detention with the DOJ against 2 people allegedly identified in a cellphone video filmed in Laguna in April last year.

The police reportedly saw the identification of the two as a major breakthrough in the case, but Remulla said it was too early to say whether a criminal group was behind the disappearances. According to ABS-CBN News, Remulla promised that authorities would continue to search and investigate and offered to meet regularly with the missing Sabungeros’ family.

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