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Año to e-sabong violators: Expect to be arrested

Those who will continue with "e-sabong" or online cockfighting operations despite President Rodrigo Duterte's order may be arrested despite the absence of implementing rules and regulations (IRR), Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Wednesday.

Asked in a Dobol B TV interview regarding those who are seeking for the IRR of Duterte's order, Año said, “Wala namang sophistication diyan sa utos ng Pangulo. ‘Pag sinabi ng Chief Executive na hindi na pupuwede ito, at ito naman ay ayon sa kapangyarihan ng ating Pangulo, ipatutupad natin yan.”

“‘Pag sinabing stop, stop na ‘yan. Wala nang mga anumang technicalities o anumang justifications. Ganun lang siya kasimple. Kung hindi ka susunod, eh di mananagot ka sa batas at expect mo na magkakaron tayo ng mga pag-aresto diyan sa mga hindi susunod,” he added.

(There is no sophistication in the President's order. When the Chief Executive says that this is no longer allowed based on his power, then we'll have to implement it. When he said it should stop, then it should stop regardless of technicalities or justifications. It’s that simple. If you don't comply, you will be held accountable by the law and you can expect that we will arrest those who do not comply.)

Año reiterated that Duterte’s decision came following a survey conducted by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on April 19 regarding the e-sabong operations, which is being blamed for the deterioration of moral values among many Filipinos.

Citing the survey results, he noted that 68% of the respondents said they “highly disagree” that e-sabong helps with their finances.

Meanwhile, 62% agreed that e-sabong should be stopped, 34% said that it should be regulated, and the remaining 4% said it should continue without any regulation.

“‘Yung pinakamatindi dito ‘yung moral issues tulad ng addiction. Sobra talaga ‘pag nalulong sa e-sabong. Hahanap ng pera, ibebenta ‘yung bahay, lupa, kahit anong gamit,” Año said.

(The most serious problems here are the moral issues such as addiction. It’s really bad when people get addicted to e-sabong as they will look for money and even sell their house, land, and anything else.)

Año further said the DILG’s recommendation to stope-sabong operations also stemmed from the disappearance of about 34 cockfighting enthusiasts or “sabungeros,” most of whom allegedly involved in game rigging.

At least four senators on Tuesday said they believe that the passage of the bill seeking to grant a franchise to an e-sabong firm is already dead in the 18th Congress due to lack of material time to tackle the measure.

With this, the DILG chief pinned his hopes that the next administration will “see importance” of Duterte’s decision to stop e-sabong operations.

“Sa tingin ko naman, kung sino ang susunod na administration, baka naman makikita niya ang importansya ng desisyon Pangulong Duterte at ipagpatuloy ang ginawa niya. Abangan na lang natin,” he added.

(I think the next administration will see the importance of the decision of Duterte and continue what he did. Let’s wait for it.) —KBK, GMA News