Duterte says missing sabungeros 'fault of evil men' but defends online sabong

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 17 2022 06:54 PM | Updated as of Mar 17 2022 10:14 PM

Screengrab from PTV

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday defended online sabong due to the billions of pesos in revenues it gives the government, but blamed the disappearances of several sabungeros' to "evil men." 

This comes amid senators' clamor to suspend e-sabong operations, due to the unsolved disappearances of around 30 sabungeros since late December. A Senate body has passed a resolution to suspend e-sabong operations. 

"E-sabong gives government P644 million ang buwan. In one year, it gives the government billions," Duterte said in his speech in Palo town, Leyte. 

"Let the police solve the problem... It's not the fault of the management. It's the fault of evil men doing something wrong," he added.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) this week said it earned P3.7 billion from April to December 2021 from e-sabong and another P1.4 billion so far this year. 

"Sa aming projection, aabot sa P7.2 billion hanggang P8 billion ang magiging koleksyon sa e-sabong ngayong taon na 'to," PAGCOR chief Andrea Domingo said.

(Based on our projection, collections from e-sabong will reach P7.2 billion to P8 billion this year.) 

There are around 30 missing sabungeros as of March 2022, authorities said. The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) earlier said at least 8 suspects have been identified.

The Philippine National Police, meanwhile, said 6 suspects were "positively" identified.

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