Over 2,400 websites streaming e-sabong blocked — PNP
MANILA, Philippines — Over 2,400 websites accessible for electronic-sabong or online cockfighting purposes have been blocked under an executive order issued last year to ensure its suspension, PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) director Brig. Gen. Sidney Hernia said on Tuesday.
Despite enforcing Executive Order (EO) No. 9, issued on December 28 last year, Hernia said they had monitored 2,817 websites engaging in “e-sabong” operations since last year.
“We communicated this to the National Telecommunications Commission for the NTC to direct different telcos to block those sites,” Hernia told lawmakers during the House committee on games and amusements’ Tuesday hearing.
“With the constant communication with the NTC, telcos were able to block 2,470 out of the 2817 websites, and as of our latest monitoring yesterday [we discovered] 37 active websites, and we have sent this list to NTC,” he added.
Aside from blocking the sites, Hernia said the CIDG operatives and other police units on the ground are constantly locating various studios used by online cockfighting operators.
Lawyer Kathlyn Jaylou Egipto from the legal branch of NTC said they immediately issued a memorandum addressed to internet service providers, directing them to block the list of websites they received from the ACG.
Upon hearing this, Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda asked Egipto to cite a specific law allowing them to block the e-sabong sites.
Both officials from the national police and NTC said they are basing their operations on EO No. 9 and EO No. 13 series of 2017.
The former suspends the online, remote, or off-cockpit wagering or betting on live cockfighting matches, as well as the live-streaming or broadcasting of cockfights outside cockpits, cockfighting arenas, or other places where cockfights are held, regardless of the location of the betting platform, while the latter is focused on strengthening the fight against illegal gambling.
Salceda questioned if the EOs they mentioned cover the duty to block sites.
“You know you cannot use an EO to block these sites; it has to go through a notice and hearing requirement,” the lawmaker argued.
“Only the DOJ is authorized [to block sites], but even that authority has been struck down by the Supreme Court. We need new laws talaga,” he added, pertaining to the Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
No specific laws vs e-sabong facilitators, participants
Likewise, Hernia highlighted the need for a new law specifically penalizing e-sabong, pointing out that the Presidential Decree 449, or the Cockfighting Law of 1974, has no specific penal provisions on online cockfighting.
“That is why one recommendation is to have a law applicable for the PNP to enforce operations against e-sabong,” he said.
“As of now nahihirapan ang PNP sa law enforcement operations namin using Cockfighting Law because it is silent about e-sabong,” he added.
(Currently, PNP is having difficulty conducting operations using the Cockfighting Law because it is silent about e-sabong.)