De Lima: Alleged involvement of cops in cases of missing sabungeros warrants public attention, serious investigation


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Re-electionist Senator Leila M. de Lima stressed that the alleged involvement of police personnel in the case of missing sabungeros, which remains unsolved, requires public attention and a serious investigation.

De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, maintained that the ballooning number of abducted or missing sabungeros should be addressed and acted upon swiftly, considering that authorities are being dragged into the issue.

Bakit hindi na tayo nagulat na inuugnay na naman ang mga tiwaling pulis sa pagkawala nitong mga sabungero?” she asked.

“These series of disappearance of people involved in gambling warrants public attention and a serious investigation, especially now that there are allegations of state forces being involved (again),” she added.

Alias Berto, a sabungero who wished to hide his identity for now, shared in a radio interview that he and his fellow sabungeros were made to choose between “kulong o patay” by the supposed members of PNP Provincial Intelligence Branch in Laguna who wrongly accused them of selling the match in a derby in Sta. Cruz last 2020.

 He recalled that the armed cops also arrested his financer and confiscated the latter’s jewelries and money.

Inilabas nila kami, sabi po sa amin ano ba gusto nyo? Kayo papipiliin namin: kulong o patay? Siyempre sa amin po, kahit sinong tao pipiliin po ang kulong. Akala ko po ang ikakaso lang sa amin ay illegal gambling, kinasuhan po kami ng drugs,” Berto claimed. ‘

Citing records from the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management, the PNP reportedly said its ongoing investigation has recorded seven complaints against police personnel linked to e-sabong activities from January 1 to February 21 this year.

According to PNP, police officers have been dismissed or suspended as administrative complaints have been filed against them following involvement on the issue.

The lady Senator from Bicol said there is a possibility that such practice, which is reminiscent of the “nanlaban” narrative of the PNP, has been happening for ages, but was not given enough attention.

“We have seen this before. Too many murderous times.  Poor drug suspects. Activists. “Nanlaban.” Summarily executed. By police officers or their agents. This is the result of the impunity and violence propagated by this sindikato regime which has no regard for human life and the rule of law,” she said.

As long as impunity remains a state policy, De Lima said that summary killings, forced disappearances, abductions, and crimes that should have long been buried in the darkest period in Philippine history but were resurrected by the Duterte regime, “will continue to haunt us.”

Hindi tayo dapat masanay na lang sa mga ganitong pangyayari. Maging mapagbantay tayo hangga’t mapanagot ang mga salarin.  We do not want this to drag on in the next six years,” she added. (30)

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