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Raps filed but CIDG yet to establish motive in 'sabungero' disappearances

Investigators have yet to establish the motive behind the string of online sabong enthusiasts’ disappearances, the chief of the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) admitted Monday.

At a Senate hearing, Senator Panfilo Lacson asked CIDG director Police Brig. Gen. Eliseo Cruz if investigators had already established the motive behind the disappearances of the cockfight aficionados after having identified the means and the opportunity.

“At one time or another, we are investigators ourselves, Senator Dela Rosa, General Cruz and myself. When we investigate we consider three aspects right away:  motive, opportunity and means. The opportunity and means we had somehow established. What motive have you established here CIDG?” Lacson asked.

Cruz answered in the negative citing the need to gather more evidence.

“Interesado ako ano ang nakita niyong motive dito, CIDG? Parang hindi maliwanag sa akin ano yung motive,” Lacson said.

“Ano ang na-establish niyong motive because you have come to a point that you have already referred the case to the DOJ for a preliminary investigation, ibig sabihin established niyo na ang lahat. Ano yung motive?” he added.

Responding to Lacson, Cruz said the charges that were filed before the DOJ in the case of disappearances at Manila Arena were based on the testimonies of the witnesses.

“Since there, we were able to establish the probable cause to file a case against the identified suspects. Although sometimes, there are cases being cleared or solved by the police or by the CIDG but sthe motive is still unknown,” the CIDG chief said.

“So, for as long as we have secured a witness or evidence which would warrant the filing of a case against an identified suspect so we go on with the investigation and file the case before the prosecutor's office, but the motive could still be unknown,” he added.

But Lacson warned the investigators that this might weaken the case before the courts.

“It can go past the probable cause threshold but remember pagdating sa court guilty beyond reasonable doubt ang hinihingi natin and if you are not able to establish the motive, it would weaken your case pagdating sa korte. So, it is important that the motive is established ‘di ba? Agree?” Lacson said.

Lacson reminded the investigators to look for the pattern as this would help them establish the motive behind the disappearances of the online sabong enthusiasts.

Cruz answered in the affirmative and assured the lawmaker that the CIDG will continue to gather more information, witnesses and pieces of evidence so they could “finally find out the real motive of the case.”

Last week, the Philippine National Police (PNP)’s Special Investigation Group Sabungero (SITG) and the CIDG formally filed complaints of kidnapping and serious illegal detention against the management and security personnel of the Manila Arena.

Complaints were filed before the DOJ against Julie Patidongan Aguilar, Mark Carlo Zabala Evangelista, Virgilio Bayog Pilar, Roberto Matillano Jr. Guillema, Jonas Alingasa Alegre, Johnry Consolacion Recapor, Herolden Alonto, Gler Cudilla, and alias Sir Chief and six John Does. —NB, GMA News