Operatives of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Region 7 have arrested a total of 283 people over the past six days as they stepped up their campaign against the illegal operations of e-sabong in compliance with an order by PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr.
Region 7 police commander Brig. Gen. Roderick Augustus Alba, in a statement, said they also intensified their intelligence gathering and information sharing with the local communities to run after the bettors and e-sabong operators.
Police said the illegal online sabong also targeted overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Alba said some P156,000 in bets was seized during the six-day operation from Dec. 5 to 10.
The Cebu City police made the most arrests with 106, followed by the Cebu Police Provincial Office with 42, and the regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group with 40.
“We have already filed 109 cases in connection with our aggressive drive against online sabong. The operation of online sabong is already illegal because of a presidential order early this year. I am warning those who are continuously defying this order to stop, otherwise, we will relentlessly run after you,” Alba said.
Former President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the termination of online sabong operation due to public pressure over the case of 34 missing sabungeros, as well as the reports that a number of bettors, including policemen, were deep in debts and even forced to engage in illegal activities to sustain their online sabong addiction.
Meanwhile, members of the PNP-Anti Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) raided an illegal online lending agency (OLA) in Manila, resulting in the arrest of 83 collection agents accused of harassing debtors for not paying their accounts.
The PNP-ACG said the agents were caught sending threatening messages to customers while some were unlawfully accessing the clients’ personal information which is posted online with libelous remarks. The group operated in a building in Barangay 497 in Sampaloc, Manila.
The operation stemmed from a court-issued warrant to search, seize and examine computer data that were allegedly being used by the suspected loan shark.
The PNP-ACG said people victimized by the OLA experienced public humiliation and harassment coupled with threats and illegal access to their phones’ contact list when customers cannot pay on time.
Maj. Ely Compuesto, ACG Team leader, said the operation was done in collaboration with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Manila Police District and Anti-Cybercrime Group.