A cockpit worker tagged gaming operator Charlie “Atong” Ang as the person behind the disappearance of a number of online cockfighting personalities, while five policemen were tagged by at least four witnesses as behind the “kidnapping” last year of an e-sabong “master agent” in his Laguna residence, a Senate panel revealed on Monday.
Ang immediately denied the claim by panel witness Alvin Indon and said Laguna provincial police chief Col. Rogart Campo was trying to pin him down.
During the resumption of the third hearing of the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs chaired by Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa on the more than 30 missing cockfighting aficionados, police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Director Eliseo Cruz said they will file appropriate charges against the five policemen before the Department of Justice.
He told Dela Rosa’s panel that the suspects were identified from the 28 photos provided to the witnesses by the police.
“This is in connection with the case of Ricardo Lasco, a master agent of e-sabong who was kidnapped by more or less 10 armed men in his residence in San Pablo, Laguna on August 30, 2021,” said Cruz.
He said their investigators are consolidating the sworn statements of the witnesses and other pieces of evidence.
Cruz said the suspects, whom he did not name, were formerly assigned at the provincial intelligence branch of the Laguna police office based in Sta. Cruz.
In the same hearing, Lasco’s partner, Princess Montanes-Lasco, and his mother, Carmelita, begged authorities to hasten the resolution of the case.
The 44-year-old Lasco is one of the 34 cockfighting aficionados who remain missing.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III ordered the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms to provide security to Lasco’s family.
“Do not lose hope in our investigations here. We will give justice to your missing kin. Do not be afraid,” Dela Rosa said.
Dela Rosa said even if they suspect Philippine National Police members as the brains behind the disappearance of at least 30 men in Manila, Bulacan, Laguna, and Batangas, these scalawags do not represent the entire government.
“They are not the government. There are men in the government you can still trust,” the former PNP chief turned lawmaker told the families.
Dela Rosa assured the public his committee would remain focused on its objectives even as Malacañang rejected a resolution signed by 23
senators urging the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) to suspend the license to operate of “e-sabong” operators.
“Since [our resolution] was denied, we have to move on and we should not be distracted toward our main objective of this hearing which is to locate or possibly recover the living or the dead bodies of these 34 missing persons,” Dela Rosa said.
Partido Reporma presidential candidate and Senator Panfilo Lacson, also a former PNP chief, asked the CIDG if they have already established a motive for the missing sabungeros.
Cruz said they have yet to do so.