DOJ indicts 6 for kidnapping, serious illegal detention of 6 sabungeros
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) will file kidnapping and serious illegal detention complaints against six people for the disappearance of six “sabungeros” or cockfighting enthusiasts in January.
In a statement Friday, the DOJ said its panel of prosecutors found probable cause to indict farm manager Julie Patidongan, Gleer Codilla, Mark Carlo Zabala, Virgilio Bayog, Johnry Consolacion, and Roberto Matillano Jr.
This was stated in a resolution promulgated on December 22.
It also said that complaints against the six individuals will be filed before the Manila Regional Trial Court.
According to the DOJ, its panel found that the six individuals “conspired in kidnapping and depriving the liberty” of John Claude Inonog, James Baccay, Marlon Baccay, Rondel Cristorum, Mark Joseph Velasco, and Rowel Gomez on January 13.
The sabungeros left Tanay, Rizal at 1 p.m. to go to Manila Arena to join a derby but at 7:30 p.m., they were forced to board a gray van and were never seen again.
The DOJ said the respondents denied their participation in the disappearance of the six sabungeros, arguing that the witnesses have no personal knowledge of the crime.
“However, the panel gave scant consideration to the defense of the respondents in light of the positive identification and credible testimonies of the complainants’ witnesses,” the agency said.
The DOJ cited Venancio Inonog, the father of one of the victims, who said his son told him through a phone call that they were forced to board a gray van.
He said his son was able to identify Bayog, Consolacion, and Matillano. Venancio also said he heard screaming before the call was cut off.
The DOJ earlier said it will file kidnapping and robbery complaints against three of the five Laguna police officers who were implicated in the disappearance of e-sabong (online live cockfighting) agent Ricardo Lasco on August 30, 2021.