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PNP chief Acorda vows to prioritize missing ‘sabungeros’ case

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Benjamin Acorda Jr. said the case of missing cockfighting enthusiasts would be prioritized.

According to Emil Sumangil’s report on GMA Integrated News’ Unang Balita on Thursday, Acorda said he is already asking for regular updates on the search for the six suspects with warrant of arrest.

“They will be conducting regular meetings pa rin to make sure na hindi po nabibitawan ito...Those incidents na medyo wala pang nai-file na kaso we are pursuing them,” Acorda said.

(They will be conducting regular meetings to make sure that they would not let this go. We are pursuing those incidents without cases filed yet.)

According to him, tracker teams have been created for the case.

Earlier, families of the missing sabungeros asked for help from Acorda for the arrest of the suspects tagged in the abduction of their kin.

Authorities have been investigating eight formal cases of missing sabungeros involving 34 individuals through the Special Investigation Task Group “Sabungero.”

In February, an arrest warrant for kidnapping and serious illegal detention was issued for Julie Patidongan, Gleer Codilla, Mark Carlo Zabala, Virgilio Bayog, Johnry Consolacion, and Roberto Matillano Jr.

This is over the disappearance of John Claude Inonog, James Baccay, Marlon Baccay, Rondel Cristorum, Mark Joseph Velasco, and Rowel Gomez who went missing at the Manila Arena in January 2022.

Recently, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said tracker teams will be formed to look for the suspects linked to the disappearance of the six sabungeros.

According to Remulla, names of possible masterminds behind the disappearances have been mentioned but added that authorities still have no evidence.

Meanwhile, for the case of the alleged abduction of e-sabong master agent Ricardo Lasco in Laguna, the pre-trial hearing is set for June.

Kidnapping, serious illegal detention, and robbery with violence charges were filed against Police Patrolman Rigel Brosas, Police Staff Sergeant Daryl Paghangaan, and former Police Corporal Roy Navarete.

The suspects surrendered to authorities and pleaded not guilty to the charges. — Joviland Rita/RSJ, GMA Integrated News