Atong Ang’s name surfaces during Senate probe into missing ‘sabungeros’
MANILA, Philippines — The name of businessman and e-sabong firm owner Atong Ang was brought up at a Senate probe into the disappearance of men involved in cockfighting, with a video that showed him “warning” agents who are soliciting bets through illegal sites and engaging in game-fixing.
But a representative of the online sabong company denied having resorted to any “illegal activities” in dealing with errant agents.
During Thursday’s hearing of the Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee, the sister of Ricardo Lasco, who is still missing since his abduction in August 2021, informed the panel about a video where Ang called out “double agents” who are stealing videos from his e-sabong firm Lucky 8 Star Quest Inc. and posting these on a duplicated website to solicit bets illegally.
“Ano ba ‘to? Warning ba? Nag-cloning yung kapatid ko talaga? May ginawa ba siyang kasalanan [What’s this, a warning? Did my brother do anything wrong]?” Lasco’s sister said.
In the video, Ang explained how erring agents would steal the firm’s cockfight videos and copy the layout of his firm’s legitimate website.
He said these agents would tell bettors that the legitimate site was experiencing problems so that they would instead make bets on the replicated site.
“Ang kumpanya natin nagbabayad ng tax. Nagbabayad sa Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation). Nagpapagamot ng mga tao, lahat ng klase ng taxes, binubuhay ang industriya. Gumawa sila ng isang kopya para magnakaw, itong mga tarandatong ito [Our company is paying the tax. Paying the Pagcor. Giving opportunities to sick people to get some treatment, and through our taxes, we are bringing life to the industry],” Ang said in the video.
“Tigilan niyo na ‘yang kalokohan niyo. Ito tandaan niyo ‘to, ‘pag hindi kayo tumigil, tingnan niyo maigi kung ano mangyayari sa inyo [Stop your foolishness, if you don’t stop just wait and see what will happen to you],” he added.
He said they already reported these erring agents to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). Ang also called out game-fixers in the video.
“Alam niyo na ang mangyayari sa inyo diyan. kulong ang aabutin niyo diyan, para malinaw. Ilan na yung napakulong namin diyan [You know what will happen to you, you’ll go to jail, we have brought to jail a lot of people already],” Ang had said.
‘Only a reminder’
Lawyer Angelo Niño Santos, president of Lucky 8 Star Quest Inc., said they coordinated with the CIDG’s unit in the National Capital Region as well as the NBI regarding erring agents.
He said they were able to file several criminal complaints against “those who were caught soliciting bets using a fake website.”
“That was the result of the coordination with CIDG and the NBI special action unit and that is why that was what the video is all about, a reminder to the public and to the agents,” he added.
At this point, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who chairs the Senate panel, interjected and asked Santos: “Reminder slash threat?”
Santos said Ang’s video was only a reminder.
“Nagsasabi siyang ganon na ‘kayo…tignan niyo mangyayari sainyo [He was saying that…see what will happen to you],’” Dela Rosa, however, pointed out.
But Santos maintained the company only resorts to legal means and properly coordinates with law enforcement agencies when it comes to such cases.
“With respect po sa Youtube video po ni Mr. Ang…it’s not a threat,” Santos stressed.
Asked when the clip was uploaded, Santos said he believes it was put up in August last year when illegal websites were rampant.
“Hindi po kami nagpe-perform ng mga other illegal activities with respect to this, we always coordinate with the proper authorities, [We are not performing other illegal activities]” Santos added.
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