PNP vows to unmask operators of ‘e-sabong’
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) vowed to dig deeper until the identities of individuals involved in the ongoing guerrilla-style operation of electronic sabong, also known as e-sabong, will be known and put to jail.
This developed as the government declared e-sabong as illegal in the country.
PNP chief Benjamin Acorda Jr. explained that law enforcement authorities are determined to dismantle as many online platforms and mobile applications as possible that are being unlawfully utilized by operators of e-sabong.
“The PNP’s Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) continues its cyber patrolling operations to identify the various websites and pages being used in these illegal activities,” Acorda said.
He further stated that the ACG employs a two-pronged approach to combat e-sabong. Firstly, the Department of Information Technology (DICT) identifies and subsequently shuts down online sites involved in these illegal operations. Secondly, efforts are made to locate the venues where the illegal games are being conducted to facilitate the possible arrest of violators.
“Remember that bets are also placed online, so our challenge is to prove this in court. This is what the law requires, and we will find ways to meet this requirement to ensure the prosecution of all violators caught engaging in these illegal activities,” Acorda said.
He noted that operators of this illegal activity have resorted to going underground and are now using private farms and arenas in secluded areas as venues for their illegal cockfighting tournament.
“The physical locations where the illegal games are held and the mechanisms through which bets are placed pose challenges that we must address,” Acorda said.
Between January and June 2023, Acorda mentioned that the PNP conducted 50,000 nationwide anti-gambling operations, including those targeting online sabong. These operations resulted in 41,000 arrests.
“These statistics demonstrate our commitment to cracking down on illegal gambling operations throughout the country,” Acorda emphasized.
He reiterated that the PNP’s one-strike policy remains in effect, and heads of commands will be automatically relieved from their posts if illegal gambling operations are discovered within their respective jurisdictions.