A number of witnesses, four of them women, have confronted at least two policemen who they claimed were behind the abduction of their relative last year.
Appearing before the Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee’s third hearing on the missing persons allegedly involved in sabong and e-sabong, the relatives of online cockfight master agent Ricardo “Jonjon” Lasco, Jr. recalled how a group of men stormed their house and arrested him.
The men, according to Lasco’s common-law wife Princess, identified themselves as National of Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents, who were tasked to arrest him for estafa.
Lasco is one of the 34 cockfight players who remain missing until today.
He was picked up from his house, which was also allegedly ransacked by the group.
Now, all relatives can do is to beg for information as for Jonjon’s whereabouts.
“Napakalupit ninyo, wala kayong puso! Sana sinoli nyo na lang ang anak ko! Ibibigay namin lahat ng aming kabuhayan mabalik lang yung aking anak ng buhay. Pero wala, lahat kinuha nyo,” Jonjon’s mother, Carmelita Lasco, said.
“Ituro nyo lang po, alam kong may nakakaalam nito. Sige na po... may mga nagte-text, alam daw nila. May mga willing, natatakot, yung iba pera,” Princess said.
As she added: “Kami na nga biktima kami pa yung ginaganito. Grabe. Tapos hindi pa namin alam ang mangyayar after this. Matatakot ba kami. Security ba ang kailangan namin. Ang hirap ng kami na ang biktima, kami pa yung nabubuhay sa lungkot, sa takot.”
At the hearing, Lasco’s relatives also took turns in pointing at Laguna police patrolman Roy Navarette as the one who allegedly repeatedly approached them.
“Yung isa pong lalaki, pinadiretso ako sa lagayan ng vault. Sabi nya po sa akin, ikaw buksan mo to. Buksan ko raw po yung vault pero hindi ko naman po alam yung password,” Honey Lyn Sason said.
“Nandidito ngayon? Ituro mo nga kung sino,” Senator Ronald dela Rosa asked, which Sason answered by pointing at Navarette.
“Bubuksan ko na po yung pintuan, may pumasok pong dalawang lalaki. Namukhaan ko po yung isa doon… si Roy Navarette,” Elaine Sara Montañes said.
“Tinanong niya ako kung pwede kong buksan yung vault. Sabi ko, hindi ko po alam ang password," Gilda Montañes, mother of Princess, said.
“Wala po ako dun, naka-duty po kami sa Laguna po. Wala po kami nun sa San Pablo po,” Navarette in his defense, said.
Princess also identified Staff Sergeant Daryl Gaceta Paghangaan as to one who acted as the group’s team leader, who kept on flashing a supposed arrest warrant, which they never got hold of.
“Alam namin yung shape kasi nagbababa po siya ng mask. Alam po naming yung shape, yung katawan, kaya po nung na-identify po namin nung pinakita sa amin yung picture eh si Paghangaan,” Princess said.
Paghangaan, who used to be part of the Laguna Provincial Intelligence Unit, insisted: “August 30, 2020, 9:16am, nag-deliver po ako ng sabon sa Pila, Laguna. Detergent powder po. Andito po cellphone ko Sir, hindi ko pa po binubura yung conversation nung kausap ko, Sir. Nandito po ang resibo ko.”
The head of the PNP-CIDG, meantime, assured the public there will be a non-stoo probe and filing of cases against those who will be found to be involved in the case of the missing cockfighters.
“Madalang na apat na babae na walang kakayahan to directy identify. Iyan po ang aming basehan. When they visited our office, we even included them in our conference meetings
"Kahit anong sabihin ng mga kasamahang pulis, we will continue to file the case. They are victims and complainants of these cases. We are filing the appropriate case,” Police Major General Eliseo Cruz said.
Another panel witness, cockpit worker Alvin Indon, on the other hand, was picked up by security personnel in Santa Cruz, Laguna on November 18, 2020.
Indon said Navarette slapped a father and his son who were arrested along with him.
“What a coincidence. Ano ang sa tingin mo? Makukumbinse mo pa kaya ako na wala kang kinalaman dito?” dela Rosa asked Navarette.
“May mga ebidensya po ako your honor na nagi-ikot kami sa mga checkpoint,” Navarette insisted.
Indon also said that Police Master Sergeant Sergeant Michael Claveria was the one who fabricated drug charges against them after giving them the option to “die or be charged.”
Indon alleged that Claveria also told them that businessman Atong Ang was offering them a P5,000 bounty for every dead game fixer. Claveria denied the allegation.
Indon also accused Ang as the one allegedly behind their abduction.
“Ang tawag po nya ay Boss A. 'Yun po ang sinasabi po nya ay si Atong Ang. Sabi po nya, ay boss ah, may mga tao na naman ditong pumasok mga mantyo-tiyope. Ang sabi po niya, naka-loud speaker,” Indon said.
“Alam mo boses ni Atong Ang?” dela Rosa asked.
“Medyo malat po. Ang sabi po nung tinawagan po ay sige paaminin nyo kung sino ang boss. Pag hindi nya inamin, patayin nyo na. hindi lang naman ako ang nakarinig nun, pati mga kasama ko,” Indon said.
Ang, or Charle Tiu Hay Sy, immediately denied the allegations.
He accused Laguna police chief Colonel Rogart Campo of trying to pin him down.
Ang said he even gave Campo P1 million to finish his office’s construction.
“Part of the conspiracy yan eh. Hetong si Colonel Rogart, sabi, ‘Boss, gusto mo dukutin na lang namin eh.' Hindi ko alam kung nagbibiro lang siya. Sino ba ang nasa likod ni Rogart… siyempre iisipin ko yung mga kalaban ko sa negosyo,” said Ang, vice president of Lucky 8 Star Quest Inc.
“Hindi ko masasabing part ako, sir. Iyung sinasabing makakalimutin ako siguro slip of a tongue, pero kung didiretso kong sinasabi ni Atong Ang na dudukutin, eh di sana ginawa ko na sir. Eh bakit nanghuli pa kami?” Campo replied.
Senators gave an assurance to the victims and their relatives.
“Witness Protection Program po ay ia-apply po namin kayo,” dela Rosa said.
“Pag may nangyari sa inyo alam na natin kung sino ang hahabulin. Hindi sila gagawa ng ganung kalokohan anyway. I’ll order the sergeant-at-arms to give you security hanggang hindi natin maso-solve itong asunto na to,” said Senate President Vicente Sotto III.