MANILA -- Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said he will appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte to suspend the operations of online cockfighting or e-sabong operators in the Philippines when he personally hands over a copy of the Senate’s penned resolution on e-sabong.
The senator, a known ally of the President, said Friday that the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs will send a copy of the resolution to the President “right away” once a sufficient number of senators have signed it.
“Personally as his friend and ally, magbigay rin ako sa kanya (Duterte) ng advice kung anong dapat gawin at at ito ang maganda, ihinto muna ang e-sabong operations nationwide hanggang hindi mabigyang-linaw itong ongoing investigation," Dela Rosa said in a virtual interview.
[Personally as his friend and ally, I will advise him on what needs to be done, and I think we need to stop e-sabong operations nationwide until we know what happened to the missing persons.]
"Dahil ayaw nating madagdagan pa ng missing person,” he added.
[We don't want more persons to go missing.]
Allowing e-sabong operations to continue, dela Rosa said, could result in more cases of sudden disappearances.
Dela Rosa said their committee is scheduled to hold another hearing on March 3. But he said there is a need to regulate e-sabong operations, especially the frequency of the game, the required age of bettors, and the betting process.
The former police chief also said they are exploring the question of whether or not e-sabong operators need a legislative franchise.
“Dapat limitahan ang frequency ng sabong dahil 24/7 walang hinto. Kung isang upuan mo lang at the comfort of your bedroom with your cellphone panalo ka na kaagad or talo ka na agad. Napakabilis isang ganun lang ng cellphone… hindi mo alam, within that day, nalubog ka na sa utang,” Dela Rosa said.
[We must limit the frequency of e-sabong because it operates 24/7, non-stop. If you are seated in your room with your cellphone, you can win or lose right away...you might lose track of time and suddenly realize that you are buried in debt.]
He added: “Marami nasiraan ng bait, may nabuwang, may nagpakamatay, may pulis na nangholdap, nagnakaw, dahil nga nalulong na sa E-sabong.”
[Many people have suffered mental health issues, have committed suicide, policemen have committed crimes after being addicted to online gambling.]
“We have to regulate it para hindi ito magresulta ng masasamang pangyayari sa ating lipunan. Yung addiction talaga ng sabong ay napakasama at marami talagang mangyayaring krimen dahil sa addiction na yan,” dela Rosa stressed.
[We have to regulate it so it won't result in social ills. Addiction to gambling is evil and addiction to it can cause crimes.]
As a former policeman, dela Rosa said there is a possibility that the missing cockfighters are already dead.
“Reality hurts. But reality is most likely, patay na itong mga tao na ito, kung ganun kahaba. Kasi the rule of thumb namin dyan sa kidnapping, mahaba na yung 48 hours kung walang contact, kung walang negotiation na mangyayari, eh, most likely patay na yung victim,” he said.
[Reality hurts. But the reaity is the victims may be dead already. The rule of thumb in a kidnapping is, if the abductor hasn't made contact to negotiate in 48 hours, the victim is already probably dead.]
“Sana kung buhay pa, sana ma-release nila,” dela Rosa added.
[If they are alive, I hope they can be released.]
Still, dela Rosa called on those who know what happened to approach either the police or his committee.
Dela Rosa advised the public to avoid vices.
“Basically gambling is evil... immoral talaga yung gambling, whether legal or illegal. It’s plainly immoral,” he said.