THE Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CODG) on Friday filed criminal charges against at least eight identified persons and several John Does in connection with the abduction and disappearance of the 31 cockfighting enthusiasts.
Charges for kidnapping and serious illegal detention on Friday were filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) by the PNP-CIDG against Julie Patidongan, Mark Carlo Sabala, Virgilio Bayog, Roberto Matillano Jr., Jonas Alingasa, Johnry Consolacion, Herolder Alonto and Gler Cudilla.
The other respondents in the case were identified only as ‘Sir Chief’ and John Does.’
All were said to be security personnel of the Manila Arena who allegedly conspired with each other to force six Bulacan ‘sabungeros’ into a gray van on the day the victims disappeared.
Zabala, Bayog and fellow security guards Rogelio Borican, Joey Pirrira and Arnel Arturo as well as Manila Arena administrator Cesar Sulit were subpoenaed last month by the PNP-CIDG to shed light on the case.
The PNP-CIDG headed by Major Gen. Eliseo DC Cruz said they are ‘driven by their relentless pursuit for justice’ in filing the criminal charges.
A group of CIDG National Capital Region officers led by Colonel Randy Glenn G. Silvio, together with some complainants and witnesses went to the DOJ headquarters in Manila on Friday to file the charges against the suspects.
The suspects, based on pieces of evidence gathered by the PNP-CIDG and statements of the witnesses were positively identified as the group of persons who loaded the six missing men in a van parked in the basement of Manila Arena last January 13.
“This is just one of the concrete steps that the CIDG, being tasked to dig deeper on this web of cases, is taking to get into the bottom of this. While there is a spark of national interest about these cases, the PNP is taking evidence-based approach to slowly uncover the truth behind the disappearances,” PNP chief, General Dionardo B. Carlos said.
According to the top cop, some sources of information may have been uncooperative but the CIDG managed to extract vital testimonies from other witnesses during their investigation.
“We assure the worried families that the PNP is taking all efforts and initiatives to resolve the cases,” Gen. Carlos said.
The PNP-CIDG investigation showed that one of the victims was able to contact his father shortly after they were seized by the suspects and told the latter they have been abducted
The “father then demanded that the owner and security personnel of Manila Arena produce his son,” the DOJ said.
DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra created a panel of prosecutors who will handle the preliminary investigation of the cases filed against the 15 suspects.
He added that the National Bureau of Investigation has gathered new ‘potential witnesses’ in its own investigation into the case of the 6 missing ‘sabungeros’ identified as siblings Marlon and James Baccay, Mark Joseph Velasco, John Claude Inonog, Rondel Cristorum and Rowel Gomez