The Department of the Interior and Local Government on Sunday urged witnesses of the reported abduction and disappearance of 31 cockfight enthusiasts to cooperate with authorities or face charges.
“We encourage those who know anything and those involved in the case to come out. Volunteer now because sooner, you will be charged. That’s dangerous as this is 31 counts of kidnapping,” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said in a radio interview.
“If you know anything, especially those who were involved in this abduction, the security guards, the workers inside the cockpit arenas, step forward to spare yourselves from being dragged into this case. You may face a lifetime imprisonment because of this,” Año added.
He said witnesses should collaborate with the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation.
Senator Ronald dela Rosa said the PNP has already filed a case for obstruction of justice against the management personnel of cockfight arenas over the disappearance of the sabungeros.
The Senate said it will also urge President Rodrigo Duterte to order the suspension of the licenses of firms operating online cockfighting or e-sabong until the case of the 31 missing sabungeros is resolved.
Police investigators are looking into the possibility that a group of financiers involved in game-fixing may have been behind the missing cockfighters.
This developed following the testimony of Geralyn Magbanua during last week’s Senate hearing.
Magbanua is the wife of Manny Magbanua, one of the 31 missing sabungeros.
A member of the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), requesting anonymity, said they are zeroing on the possibility that a big syndicate involved in game-fixing may have been behind the sudden disappearance of the sabungeros.