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PNP digs deeper into case of missing sabungeros

August 24, 2022 Alfred P. Dalizon 315 views

PHILIPPINE National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) director, Brigadier General Ronald O. Lee on Wednesday assured no let-up in the probe into the case of the 34 missing ‘sabungeros’ which has reached the full attention of President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ R. Marcos Jr.

Lee said PNP chief, General Rodolfo S. Azurin Jr. has ordered him to dig deeper into the case and see to it that appropriate criminal charges are filed against those found involved anybody in the abduction and disappearance of the victims based on evidence and witnesses’ testimonies.

“I am reassuring the public and the families of the 34 missing cockfighting afficionados that our investigation is ongoing and it will continue until such time that the eight separate cases are resolved and the victims are found,” Lee assured.

Shortly after he took over as the new PNP-CIDG director last week, Lee announced that one of his priorities would be the continuing investigation of the missing persons.

Last August 17, Lee called for a case conference on the matter and asked concerned officials to give him updates and developments on their investigation.

Lee added they are also looking into claims by some of the missing ‘sabungeros’ relatives that they have been offered a huge amount of money in exchange for an affidavit that they won’t anymore be interested in searching for the victims.

A grieving parent said that P1 million has been offered to their family by an unidentified emissary in exchange for the signing of an affidavit disclosing their non-interest of lack of interest anymore in pursuing the case of their missing relative.

“We are validating the calls and the numbers used by the callers. However, these numbers could not be reached or contacted anymore,” said Lee.

Obviously, the callers used pre-paid SIM cards in sending the text messages to make it hard for authorities to trace them.

However, the PNP-CIDG chief said they are getting full support from the relatives of the missing persons.

“Sa pamamagitan ng ating patuloy na pakikipag-ugnayan sa mga pamilya ng mga nawawalang sabungero, buo ang kanilang suporta sa imbestigasyon at ang aming laban sa mga salarin ay hindi maiimpluwensyahan ng anumang bagay at ninuman,” he said.

Lee said that to date, they are still awaiting the resolution of the two criminal cases they have filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against eight identified suspects and several John Does involved in the Manila Arena abduction case as well as the cases filed against five policemen and other John Does identified as the men who abducted Ricardo Lasco.

“Binibigyang priyoridad din natin ngayon ang pagkakilanlan ng lalaking nakuhanan ng CCTV habang nag-withdraw ng pera mula sa ATM account ni Melbert John Santos, isa sa mga nawawalang sabungero sa Sta. Cruz Laguna,” the official said.

He also encouraged more possible witnesses and those who know about the incident to come forward and reveal what they know to help them finally resolve the cases which prompted former President Rodrigo Duterte to order the nationwide stoppage of all e-sabong operations.