The arrested suspects in the disappearance of missing sabungeros or cockfighting enthusiasts in Manila were speaking sparingly about the case, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Monday.
In a press conference, PNP spokesperson Police Colonel Jean Fajardo was asked if the six arrested suspects confirmed that the missing sabungeros were still alive.
“Matipid po iyong pananalita nitong anim na ito. Kagaya ng sinabi ko kanina, Saturday pa lamang ay may lumutang na po na lawyer sa kanila para i-assist,” Fajardo said.
(The six suspects were speaking sparingly about the case. Like what I have said earlier, as early as Saturday, a lawyer already showed up to assist them.)
“Nagbanggit nga itong, accordingly, si Mr. Patidongan na sinabi na nasa korte na iyong kaso at haharapin na lamang po nila at doon sila sasagot dito sa mga akusasyon na sinampa sa kanila,” Fajardo added.
(One of the suspects Mr. Patidongan said that the case is already in court and that they will face the case and answer to the accusations there.)
On Friday, six of the accused in the cases of missing sabungeros in Manila were arrested in Parañaque, Philippine National Police chief Police General Benjamin Acorda said.
The arrested suspects were Julie Patidongan, Carlo Zabala, Virgilio Bayog, Roberto Matillano, Jr., Johnry Consolacion, and Gleer Codilla, who were security personnel at the Manila Arena.
In January 2022, the families of missing sabungeros John Claude Inonog, Rondel Cristorum, Mark Joseph Velasco, Rowel Gomez, and brothers James Baccay and Marlon Baccay filed formal complaints against the suspects.
In March 2022, complaints for six counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention were filed against the six suspects before the Department of Justice (DOJ).
In January this year, the DOJ filed kidnapping and serious illegal detention charges against the six individuals allegedly involved in the disappearance of the sabungeros before the Manila Regional Trial Court.
The Manila Arena case or "Case 1" is one of the eight cases involving missing sabungeros being investigated by the CIDG through Special Investigation Task Group Sabungero.—LDF, GMA Integrated News