Press Release
May 31, 2022


Committee Report No. 646

Mr. President, my dear colleagues, magandang hapon sa ating lahat.

Today, your Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs respectfully submits Committee Report No. 646 on the investigation in aid of legislation, and in the exercise of its oversight function, on the rising number of missing persons allegedly involved in sabong and e-sabong related incidents.

The past two (2) years brought uncertainty around the world. Who would have thought that we would ever live during a pandemic, one which forced every single person to stay within the four corners of their homes. Hindi rin kaila na marami sa ating mga kababayan ang nawalan ng trabaho, maraming mga negosyo ang nagsara. Ngunit kasabay nito namayagpag ang makabagong teknolohiya na nagbigay daan para sa ating mga kababayan na magkaroon ng kabuhayan sa mga makabagong paraan tulad ng "live selling", online food and delivery services at iba pa. Naging malawak din ang paggamit ng money transfer facilities at digital banking sa panahong ito. In fact, Mr. President, the advancement of digital technology even reached the gambling industry. One of which is what we call "e-sabong" or online cockfighting.

Ang sabong, ano man ang opinyon at pagtingin ng bawat isa sa atin ay maituturing na bahagi na ng ating kultura. The existence of sabong in the culture of Filipinos has been around for hundreds of years. It has made a lot of contribution not only in the entertainment of Filipinos, but also towards the livelihood of different communities in the country. This industry became a source of income to many in providing food for their families and education for their children.

Sadly, it seems today that while we recognize the notable contribution of cockfighting, some have made it as a tool of uncontrolled gambling, others exploited it as an object of commercialism and worse, there has been proliferation crimes committed in relation to it.

Recently, a story of a 22-year-old mother who sold her 8-month-old child for forty-five thousand pesos (P45,000.00) because of e-sabong debts[1] became viral on the internet. A young PNP officer who just graduated last year was likewise arrested for allegedly splurging some Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) supposedly meant for drug sting operations in e-sabong.[2] These are the stories of normal Filipino citizens who fell victim by a game of chance. We might not have heard all the accounts of our fellow kababayans who were ruined by this industry, but I am sure there are many. In fact, some of them which involved incidents of abduction have reached this august chamber.

In the beginning of this year, several reports have been circulating in the news and media outlets of missing persons allegedly involved in e-sabong. Last January, the police have been investigating the disappearance of ten (10) men who were last seen in a cockfighting arena, six (6) individuals who were last seen in the Manila Arena located at Sta. Ana, Manila, and four (4) male friends who were reported missing after participating in a cockfight event in Sta. Cruz, Laguna.

Mr. President, anyone would think that the report of ten (10) missing persons is already alarming as it is, but unfortunately, these two (2) cases only paved the way for the discovery of several other incidents of individuals involved in e-sabong.

On the same month of January, the PNP released a statement that there are ten (10) more cockfight enthusiasts from Bulacan who went missing aside from the other ten (10) missing persons initially reported in Laguna and Manila. As time passed by, several other reports of similar incidents surfaced. An overwhelming number of relatives of missing individuals cried for help to find their loved ones which to date, are yet to be found.

For this reason, the Senate through the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs conducted an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the missing individuals. Four (4) hearings were conducted which gave clarity as to the questions surrounding the alleged separate cases of abduction.

Mr. President, during the course of the investigation the Committee was able to establish that there are actually seven (7) separate cases of alleged abduction, with thirty-two (32) individuals who are missing, connected to sabong and e-sabong operations. One of the probable motives is "tyope" or the act of purposely putting one's own fighting cock in a deliberate disadvantage to ensure the victory of his opponent's cock. "Cloning" of an e-sabong website is likewise being looked into as a motive with regard to the abduction, Ricardo Lasco Jr, the master agent abducted in his house in San Pablo, Laguna.

One of the significant findings of the Committee during the investigation is that there is a distinct similarity in the pattern of how the abduction is being carried out, specifically on how the vehicles of the victims are eventually found in the area near their place of residence, a few days after they were reported missing. Further, the arenas in Manila, Sta. Cruz, Laguna, and Lipa, Batangas, where the missing persons disappeared on different occasions are all under the management and operation of Lucky 8 Star Quest, Inc which included Mr. Charlie "Atong" Ang as one of its stockholders and corporate officer. Several security personnel of Lucky 8 Star Quest, Inc. were likewise positively identified by the witnesses as being involved in the alleged abduction of the missing persons. Mr. President, these notable findings can hold water and indisputably, speak for themselves.

Though e-sabong is an industry known to be raking billions of pesos and is claimed to be of help to the country and community, it will never be as significant and as treasured as compared to the lives of our fellow Filipinos. Ang buhay ng tao ay kalianma'y hindi matutumbasan ng kahit anong halaga ng salapi. The disappearance of these sabungeros or even those who only went for entertainment undermine the peace and order situation in our country. A situation which all of us believed, was more than enough to suspend the operations of the root cause thereof.

I can stand in two vantage points and view gambling in two different perspectives. Also, I can view it from two distinct personalities: as a lawmaker; and as an ordinary citizen. But wherever I choose to stand or whoever I choose to become, my opinion will remain the same: morality transcends legality.

And thus, I am grateful to all of my colleagues who supported the Committee's call, through the initiative of our Senate President, to suspend the operations of e-sabong through Senate Resolution No. 996, and to President Duterte who eventually supported the call of suspension pending investigation.

With this Mr. President, let me present to you some of the recommendations contained in our Committee Report:


1. For the PAGCOR, to ensure safeguards are in place to prevent minors' access to electronic gambling platforms, such as, but not limited to, requiring electronic gambling operators to do a verification check each time a user logs in to the system to determine that the user is not a minor;

2. For Money Transfer Facilities, to ensure that minors will not be able to use their facilities for gambling purposes, recommend the strict implementation of Know-Your-Costumer (KYC) policy not only during registration stage but as well as usage and management of account;

3. For all LGUs, to suspend business permits of cockpit arenas found to non-compliant with their existing ordinances on the mandatory requirement of installation of CCTV cameras;

4. For the BIR, to immediately collect taxes due from e-sabong operators in accordance with Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 25-2022 and other memoranda to be released in relation thereto, as well as strict imposition of penalty for those who failed to pay the correct taxes;

5. For the PNP-CIDG and NBI, to conduct further investigation against the officers, personnel and employees of Lucky 8 Star Quest, Inc. including, Mr. Charlie "Atong" Ang, whose name has been repeatedly mentioned by witnesses during the hearings and operator of the arenas in Manila, Laguna and Batangas, where the missing persons were last seen;

6. For the PNP and NBI, to continue investigating all reported cases of missing persons in relation to e-sabong activities until they are finally resolved;

7. For the DILG and PNP, to continue to monitor and stop any possible illegal and unauthorized conduct of e-sabong operations while the directive of President Duterte to halt the operations of e-sabong is still in effect;

8. For DSWD, to provide assistance, whether in the form of financial aid or otherwise, to the family and relatives of the missing sabongeros and help them cope with their existing crisis situation;

9. For the Department of Education, to incorporate in the curriculum of schools, through Republic Act No. 11476, otherwise known as the "GMRC and Values Education Act," a discussion on the perils of gambling and its nature as a social ill.


1. Possible appropriate amendments to Presidential Decree No. 449 or the "Cockfighting Law of 1974" by mandating safety measures on the establishment, operations and maintenance of cockpits, and impose stricter regulations including strict monitoring in the conduct of cockfighting activities within the jurisdiction of the concerned local government unit;

2. To aid our law enforcement personnel in the conduct of their investigation, there is a need to institutionalize the reward system for person who witnessed and has actual knowledge of the commission of a crime;

3. To deter individuals in concealing the commission of a crime, there is a need to further increase the penalty for obstruction of justice under Presidential Decree No. 1829;

4. There is a need to pass a law mandating all LGUs to include installation of CCTV cameras in commercial establishments especially in all offsite-betting stations, gambling arenas, gaming sites, among others, as a requirement for the issuance of business permit; and

5. The appropriate Senate Committee should study the need to revise Presidential Decree No. 1869, as amended by Republic Act No. 9487, and other prevailing laws related to PAGCOR and gambling activities to address current gaps as herein discussed with the end of eliminating any confusion as to what are considered as legal and illegal gambling activities.

Mr. President, these recommendations provided in the Committee Report were formulated for the purpose of achieving the greater good and to prevent the devastation that already touched on many families. If we are to venture and pushed through e-sabong then we must first have adequate laws to regulate them as a pre-requisite for its operation. Without it, confusion and disorder becomes inevitable.

Mr. President, ako po ay umaasa, nagdarasal at humihiling na sana ay hindi na madagdagan at maulit pa ang pagkawala ng ating mga kababayan ng dahil lamang sa sabong, e-sabong o iba pang paraan ng sugal. Ang pagkalulong sa sugal ay hindi nalalayo sa epekto ng pagkalulong sa droga at iba pang bisyo na dapat nating bigyang importansya at solusyon. Ang pagtatapos ng pagdinig sa isyung ito ay hindi nangangahulugang pagtatapos sa usapin patungkol sa e-sabong ngunit simula pa lamang sa mahabang diskuyon ng mga isyung pumapalibot dito. Naniniwala ako na lahat tayo ay gustong ipaglaban ang karapatan at kabuhayan ng bawat Pilipino ngunit sa paraan na sana'y hindi labag sa moralidad at karapatang pantao ng bawat isa.

With that Mr. President, I urge the body to support and adopt the recommendations on this Committee Report and its immediate implementation, to make our communities safe and families stronger.

Maraming Salamat po!


[1] Sanggol sa Pasig, binenta pambayad sa e-sabong | ABS-CBN News

[2] Just-graduated cop nabbed for crimes linked to e-sabong | Inquirer News

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