The latest development on the kidnapping of e-sabong (online cockfighting) exec Ricardo Lasco in Laguna last year was delivered by Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr., where he dismissed five policemen allegedly involved in the case.
PNP spokesperson Police Colonel Jean Fajardo gave the announcement in an interview held at Camp Crame that Azurin has signed the dismissal order against the five policemen, based on the recommendation of the Internal Affairs Service that they will be sacked due to grave misconduct.
“Administrative cases have been filed in relation to their involvement in the abduction of an e-sabong master agent in August 2021. And I understand, authorities had just signed the decision, which orders the cops’ dismissal from service,” Fajardo said in Filipino
Fajardo confirmed that the five police personnel were also the cops named by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in its briefer on the case released on Monday. They are:
- Patrolman Rigel S. Brosas
- Patrolman Roy M. Navarete
- Police Staff Sergeant Daryl G. Paghangaan
Notably, Police Lt. Henry Sasaluya and Police Master Sergeant Michael Claveria were cleared of any criminal charges but were also dismissed. They are all now under the custody of Police Regional Office 4A or Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Batangas, Quezon).
Further details on the charges
Among the five officers dismissed there are only three who face criminal charges of kidnapping and robbery: Police Staff Sergeant Daryl Paghangaan, Patrolmen Roy Navarete and Regil Brosas.
Fajardo further clarified that the DOJ — although did not find any probable cause for both Sasaluya and Claveria — both still have administrative cases that bear enough “substantial evidence” to meet the recommended dismissal of service.
“We’re just waiting for the official proof of service on the concerned PNP personnel. There are five of them, although the Department of Justice found probable cause for only three of them, and corresponding information will be filed against these three,” the PNP spokesperson said.
When asked where the five police officers were, Fajardo said that these cops were currently under the restrictive custody of the Regional Headquarters of the Police Regional Office 4A. However, she did not say if all five are currently there.
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Backgrounder on the case
The kidnapping of Ricardo Lasco happened on the 30th of August 2021 when there were several armed men arrested Lasco at his house in CG Brion Subdivision, Barangay San Lucas, San Pablo City. Witnesses and complainants pointed to officers Lt. Henry Sasaluya and M/Sgt. Michael Claveria was among those who were part of the raid at the Lasco residence with charges of large-scale estafa.
The relatives said the armed men claimed to be the National Bureau of Investigation’s operatives. The relatives added that the cops allegedly took several valuables inside Lasco’s house while his family was being held in the living room.
By the 19th of December, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said the investigating panel found probable cause to charge S/Sgt. Daryl Paghangaan and Patrolmen Roy Navarete and Rigel Brosas in connection with the case. The Criminal Investigation Detection Group (CIDG) earlier said the complaints were already filed against the involved police personnel.
Since August 2021, there have been at least 34 reported cases of kidnapping of e-sabong or online cockfighters.
E-sabong has continued to be a dangerous field to go into. It is good news that the government is very actively involved in trying to clear things up and sort out the hot mess e-sabong is currently in. Hopefully, there won’t be any more missing persons due to the bad actors involved in the game. Comment down below. Would e-sabong be able to get things going again soon? Hope to hear from you soon!