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Cops, ordinary pinoys main victims of the evils of e-sabong

April 2, 2022 Alfred P. Dalizon 538 views

Alfred DalizonTHE cash-strapped government may be earning at least P640 million a month from E-Sabong but I agree with observations that the multi-million revenue is nothing compared to fact that thousands of Filipino families are now in complete disarray after their breadwinners got addicted to the online game.

President Duterte had explained the government is short of funds as the money was all used up in its COVID-19 response, thus his decision to let E-Sabong continue for the meantime. However, with 36 days to go before the May 9 polls, the presidential candidates led by former Senator Bongbong Marcos Jr. has to put up a calibrated response to the evils of the online sabong.

I have heard countless stories about hundreds of Overseas Filipino Workers who have lost their hard-earned savings and completely failed to send money to their families here after being addicted to the game. Add to the list the ordinary Pinoys: market vendors, drivers, construction workers, other blue collar workers and even law enforcement agents.

In many cases, these E-Sabong addicts have pawned their properties, used up their savings and stole or borrowed money from relatives, friends and fellow workers just to sustain their habit.

There is this ordinary restaurant worker who borrowed P1,000 up to P5,000 from his colleagues claiming he needs to help a sick relative. It was later found out that the worker is an E-Sabong addict who abandoned his work after incurring around P80,000 in debt from his angry co-workers. And who will forget that woman from Pasig City who was arrested for ‘pawning’ her baby for P45,000 since she needs E-Sabong money?

Then there is the case of Police Lieutenant John Kevin Menes, a 24-year old member of PNP Academy Class 2021 who was arrested by his colleagues from the PNP Drug Enforcement Group for using the P500,000 ‘operational funds’ entrusted to him and even pawning a car belonging to his subordinate just to play the game.

A son of a poor market vendor from Tondo, Manila, Menes is now in danger of being dismissed from the police force for a string of criminal and administrative charges. Around 2 a.m. last Wednesday, the member of PNP-DEG Special Operations Unit 4-A was arrested by his colleagues for estafa and illegal gambling inside the Pitmasters Live betting station along Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard in Sta. Mesa, Manila.

I learned that Lt. Menes, the chief intelligence officer of the DEG SOU 4-A in Calabarzon region was ordered placed under restrictive custody by PNP- DEG director, Brigadier Gen. Randy Peralta after he failed to present the P500,000 cash entrusted to him. The money was set to be used in a major anti-narcotics operation by the DEG in Calabarzon.

While in restrictive custody, Menes at around 10 a.m. last March 27 left their office in Camp Vicente Lim on board a car which he borrowed from his subordinate. The PNP-DEG launched a ‘search-and-recovery’ operation to get Menes after he failed to return to their Laguna camp with his subordinate’s vehicle.

Around 2 a.m. last Wednesday, PNP-DEG SOU 4-A operatives rushed to the Pitmasters’ betting station in Sta. Mesa, Manila after receiving a tip that Menes was being held by employees of the establishment for failing to pay for his P15,000 bet. They later placed the young officer under arrest.

The DEG officers also found from Menes that he parked the car he borrowed along Mayhaligue Street in Tondo. The lawmen eventually found the vehicle but got the surprise of their lives when one Angel Robert Maximo arrived in the area and claimed that he is the rightful owner of the car since it was pawned to him by Menes for P170,000 with a promised 1 percent interest per day. Maximo said he accepted the offer since he trusted the commissioned officer.

The car was returned to the custody of the DEG Patrolman shortly after Menes was placed under arrest. The PNP-DEG leadership later discovered that the officer apparently spent their operational fund and the P170,000 he received from Maximo to play E-Sabong.

Brig. Gen. Peralta told me on Thursday that he will see to it that Lt. Menes will be summarily dismissed from the police force for his serious grave misconduct. What a pity for a poor vendor’s son who has a PNP salary of around P50,000 month and the prospect of becoming a future police general.

The case of Menes should serve as a good lesson for the rest of the police force and other law enforcement agents as well as the thousands of Filipinos who have become addicted to E-Sabong. The addiction to the game can be compared to one’s addiction to illegal substance which should be addressed by the government.

Apart from ordering the deletion of E-Sabong apps on the mobile phones of policemen and other government workers, there should also be a regular conduct of random check of policemen using their cellphones while on duty, specifically those manning checkpoints.

I regularly see cops in uniform tinkering with their phones while on duty in PNP checkpoints, totally oblivious of the fact that many drivers and pedestrians are watching them. This practice should be totally stopped and Red Teams from the Internal Affairs Service, the different PNP inspection teams and the PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group must do their job. The Police Non-Commissioned Officers Association, Inc. composed of PNP sergeant majors nationwide should also do its own share in reminding their colleagues to shun E-Sabong and not play blind and deaf to the raging issue.

Actually, PNP chief, General Dionards Carlos since last year has called on his men to shun all forms of illegal gambling activities including E-Sabong amid a number of incidents in which some policemen mired in debt after being addicted to the online cockfighting games have resorted to robbery-holdups and other corrupt activities.

Gen. Carlos reminded members of the 225,000-strong police force anew to stay away from this vice which has destroyed the lives of countless Filipinos including some policemen and their families in the wake of the ongoing investigation into the case of 34 missing ‘sabungeros’ in Manila, Bulacan and Quezon as well as the arrest of a number of policemen who were found to be addicted to ‘online sabong’ after they were arrested for involvement in robbery-holdup incidents.

“This doesn’t give a good impression in their conduct as law enforcers. The bottomline is, we discourage our personnel from engaging in gambling activities as this does not augur well with their professional and personal values,” the PNP chief said.

Gen. Carlos said he abhors receiving receiving reports of police officers who are spending time betting in cockfights or e-sabong hubs instead of focusing on their work. “Definitely, we will monitor them. They are not above the law. Once caught, the PNP won’t hesitate arresting those who are involved in this illicit activity,” he said.

Since last year, three policemen who were arrested and jailed for robbery-holdup have turned out to be addicted to ‘online sabong’ and as a result, have been mired in debt forcing them to resort to criminal activities to earn money.

One of them identified as Patrolman Glenn Angoluan of the 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company of the Laguna Police Provincial Office was arrested for robbing a gasoline station in Barangay Santiago in Sto. Tomas City, Batangas . The cop confessed to have robbed a number of convenience stores in Laguna and Sto. Tomas City.

The 2nd identified as Corporal Leonell Maranan of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion of the Police Regional Office 4-B was arrested for trying to rob a hardware store in Gloria, Oriental Mindoro last February 18.

The 3rd identified as Corporal Moises Yango of the Quezon City Police District was arrested for robbing a money remittance center in San Miguel, Bulacan. The policeman who yielded a hand grenade was accused of having robbed a number of targets in Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija and Bulacan province.