The House of Representatives members who backed the legislative franchise applications of online cockfighting or “e-sabong” operators should be ashamed of their actions following Malacañang’s order for a thorough probe on the case of the over 30 missing “sabungeros”, said a former congressman.

“I hope the probe will also include those who disappeared since March of 2021,” former AGHAM Party-list Rep. Angelo Palmones said.

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“The cases of 39 missing persons seems to be ‘just a tip of an iceberg’,” he noted, even as he continued to link the supposed limited criminal case to e-sabong.

On Wednesday, March 9, it was reported that Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea signed a memorandum ordering the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a thorough investigation on the disappearances of the cockfighting gamers.

They were told to submit their findings to the Office of the President (OP) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) within 30 days.

Referring to the Palace directive, Palmones said: “I hope the congressmen who fast-tracked the e-sabong franchise bills will now feel the shame–kung may konsensya pa sila (if they still have a conscience).”

For months, Palmones has been opposing the passage of e-sabong franchise bills in Congress, saying the gambling has destroyed many lives.

“E-sabong has destroyed a lot of Filipino homes and families and will continue to do so. Our esteemed congressmen are effectively facilitating this vice when Filipinos should be using what little resources they have to survive the economic difficulties caused by the Covid-19 crisis,” he said.

Asked if he feels relieved that the e-sabong issue has now gained Malacañang’s attention, Palmones said he is more saddened than anything else.

“I’m sad that it took more lives, more than 39 lives, before authorities paid serious attention. And how about those who committed suicide, the broken families, will there be justice? Will operators, legit and illegal, or even e-wallet companies compensate them?” he asked.

Source: Manila Bulletin (