Remulla on missing sabungeros: It's a case of mass murder | Inquirer News

Remulla on missing sabungeros: It’s a case of mass murder

/ 07:41 PM February 26, 2024

cockfighting sabungero

(AP Photo / File)

MANILA, Philippine – Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Monday said the missing sabungeros or cockfighting enthusiasts can be considered dead, even as he reiterated his promise to the families to get justice for them.

Remulla said the State has already taken an interest in what he called the “mass murder of people.”


“Hindi kami titigil [We will not stop]. We will try to obtain justice. This matter cannot be settled out of court,” Remulla said.


“We consider it a mass murder because of these missing people. We should actually look at them as…we do not need to wait seven years under the Civil Code. We might as well consider them as gone unless there really have a hope to cling on that there are sightings of these people,” he added.

Under Article 390 of the Civil Code, a person who has been absent for seven years without any clue whether or not  the person is still alive, the person shall be presumed dead for all purposes except for succession.

Bail issue

A Manila court has granted the six security guards accused of abducting the cockfighting enthusiasts bail.

Remulla said they would exhaust all possible legal remedies to reverse the Manila court’s order.

“We will exhaust all possible legal remedies. We will go to a higher court on this matter because we believe that the court may have misapprehended the gravity of the situation for these missing sabongeros for a long time,” Remulla said.

“Even the fact that they hid from the law already shows that they should not have been granted bail. Since if they tried to evade our legal system and then they were granted bail, that speaks very poorly of our legal system,” he added.


The six were granted bail amounting to P3 million each last December 15 by Branch 40 Manila Regional Trial Court Presiding Judge Rebecca Guillen-Ubana.

The suspects were charged in January 2023 in connection with the disappearance of Marlon Baccay, James Baccay, Mark Joseph Velasco, Claude Inonog, Rowel Gomez and Rondel Cristorum in 2022.

The DOJ, in a resolution released in December 2022, found that the six conspired with each other in the disappearance of the victims on January 13, 2022.

Authorities said at least 34 sabungeros were reported missing or disappeared since 2021.

Remulla said the witness against the six accused is still under the Witness Protection Program.

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“We cannot give up on this and the fact that they evaded the legal system only to be caught later on shows that there was already an iota of guilt involved in this people,” he added.

TAGS: cockfighting, Jesus Crispin Remulla

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