PNP tags 6 still active ‘e-sabong’ sites, request for takedown sent

PNP tags 6 still active ‘e-sabong’ sites, request for takedown sent

MANILA, Philippines — Anti-cybercrime units of the Philippine National Police (PNP) have tagged six ‘e-sabong’ or online cockfighting websites that remain active despite the orders of President Rodrigo Duterte and other concerned agencies to stop operations.

PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said in a press briefing on Wednesday morning that the PNP cybercrime units have already requested the takedown of these sites.

“Sa ngayon ‘yong ating PNP cybercrime units ay nagko-conduct at nagsasagawa ng cyber-patrolling, and they already identified initially anim na illegal e-sabong sites na nag-ooperate, at ngayon ay nagko-conduct na sila ng case build-up, nagrequest na sila para mai-take down ‘yong anim na initially identified e-sabong sites,” Fajardo told reporters.

(As of now our PNP cybercrime units are conducting cyber-patrolling, and they have already identified six illegal e-sabong that continue to operate, and now they are doing case build-up, they have requested that these six initially identified e-sabong sites be taken down.)

However, Fajardo admitted that the PNP’s Anti-Cybercrime Group — one of the main branches of the PNP tasked to stop e-sabong operations — has yet to identify who is behind the still active sites.

She added that the PNP is also identifying whether the six websites are being maintained by individuals who got permits initially from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).

“Sa ngayon ‘yon ‘yong tinatrabaho ng PNP anti-cybercrime unit natin, we have to understand na internet-based ito, hindi natin basta pe-pwedeng ika nga bulatlatin ‘yong owner, we have to really coordinate doon sa service provider to find out and establish the identity no’ng mga nag-ooperate nitong mga identified na illegal sabong sites,” Fajardo said when asked if they have the operators’ identities.

(As of now our PNP anti-cybercrime unit is working on that, we have to understand that this is internet-based, we cannot just look for the owner, we really have to really coordinate with the service provider to find out and establish the identity of those behind the illegal e-sabong operations.)

“So may mga napangalanan, ngayon we are trying to find out and establish whether ‘yong anim na napangalanan na nabigyan ng permit ng Pagcor ay involved dito sa mga nakikita natin at namo-monitor nating illegal e-sabong sites,” she added.

(So some were named, now we are trying to find out and establish whether the six who were named and given permits by Pagcor are involved in the e-sabong sites we have monitored.)

As to the possibility that police officers may be involved in the still active ‘e-sabong’ operations, Fajardo made clear that the PNP leadership has assured the public several times that no one will be spared in the ‘e-sabong’ crackdown.

“Nasabi naman ng ating PNP leadership na wala tayong sisinuhin dito sa ating investigation at malinaw naman ‘yong ibinabang kautusan ng Pagcor — suspended lahat ngayon ng operation ng e-sabong because na rin sa utos ng ating Presidente, as an offshoot no’ng sunod-sunod na insidente involving ‘yong operations ng e-sabong,” she noted.

(The PNP leadership said that we are not sparing anyone in this investigation, and the order from Pagcor is clear — all e-sabong operations are suspended because of the order from our President, as an offshoot of the several incidents involving the e-sabong game.)

Duterte last May 3 ordered e-sabong operations stopped on recommendations from Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.

This comes a little over a month after Duterte justified e-sabong operations, as revenues obtained from these games — estimated to be around P640 million per month — can help revive the economy which has slumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ: Duterte orders end to e-sabong

READ: Duterte justifies not suspending e-sabong

Several cockfighters also went missing with their disappearances linked to ‘e-sabong’ operations.

These disappearances have prompted the Senate to launch an investigation, with the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs chairperson Senator Rolando dela Rosa asking that e-sabong operations be suspended.

Dela Rosa, a former PNP chief, also warned anti-drug officers who have been accused of involvement in the disappearance of the cockfighters that he will go after them personally if the allegations are proven to be true.

READ: ‘The ball is in their hands,’ Bato won’t appeal e-sabong halt to Duterte again

READ: Dela Rosa warns errant anti-drug cops: ‘I am your number one enemy’