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We will ‘unmask’ operators of e-sabong – PNP chief

June 20, 2023 Edd Reyes 349 views

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) will be relentless in its efforts to “unmask” the personalities involved in the continued guerrilla-type operation of electronic sabong (cockfighting), or e-sabong, which has been declared illegal by the government.

While these initiatives are ongoing, PNP chief Benjamin Acorda Jr. explained that police authorities are determined to take down as many online platforms and mobile applications as possible that are being used illegally by operators of e-sabong.

“The PNP’s Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) continues its cyber patrolling operations to identify the various websites and pages being used in these illegal activities,” Acorda said during an interview over DZRH’s “Damdaming Bayan” program.

He said the ACG uses a “two-pronged” approach in fighting e-sabong.

One is the identification and subsequent taking down by the Department of Information Technology (DICT) of online sites being used in illegal operations.

Two is the identification of the locations where the illegal games are being held to effect the possible arrest of violators.

“Remember that bets are also [made] online, so the challenge is for us to prove this in court. This is what the law requires, and we will find ways to satisfy this requirement to warrant the prosecution of all violators caught engaging in these illegal activities,” Acorda said.

He said operators of this illegal activity have now gone “underground” and are using private farms and arenas in secluded areas as venues for their cockfighting games.

“Both the physical component or the venues where the illegal games are held, and how the bets are done, are part of the challenges we face,” Acorda said.

From January to June of 2023, Acorda said, the PNP launched 50,000 anti-gambling operations nationwide, including online sabong. These operations led to 41,000 arrests.

“These statistics demonstrate our resolve to crack down on illegal gambling operations across the country,” Acorda said.

The “one-strike” policy of the PNP remains in effect, he said, and heads of command will be automatically relieved from their posts if illegal gambling operations are found in their areas of jurisdiction.