2 barangay officials, 27 others nabbed in Davao City for cockfighting amid COVID-19 pandemic

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 7 September) – Authorities arrested here Sunday two village officials and 27 others after they were caught in the act of holding a cockfight and seized from them their pot money worth P245,734, Mayor Sara Duterte said Monday.

In an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5), she identified the officials as Mark Cayetano and Romeo Mamuntayaw, barangay captain (village chief) and kagawad (councilor), respectively of Barangay 10-A Poblacion.

Duterte said she was enraged by the apparent unlawful activities of the arrested barangay officials, who were tipped by their constituents to the police for defying the ban on cockfighting in the city, which was imposed to control the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection.

“Well, you don’t deserved to be a barangay captain if you yourself is violating the laws which you are supposed to implement,” she said.

The city will file charges against the two officials and the other persons involved for violating Presidential Decree (PD) 449, as amended by PD 1602, also known as the Cockfighting Law of 1974, which regulates the “establishment, operation, maintenance, and ownership of cockpits,” according to her.

As of 7:34 p.m. Monday, the Davao City Police Office did not say if the two officials and the others remained in detention.

Duterte lauded the police authorities “for not hesitating to arrest the village chief, even though they knew that he is an influential politician who runs a construction business in the city.”

“We thank the Davao City police because they did not shirk from their work in law enforcement. We’ve been looking for them for quite a time. We always get reports about cockfighting, so finally they captured a “big catch,” she said.

Duterte said she was incensed when Cayetano reached out to her through her staff to explain the incident.

The mayor read in part Cayetano’s text message, which says: “Mag explain lang gyud unta ko dili man gyud ko nagapabadlong (I just want to explain that I wasn’t really misbehaving.)”

She said the authorities “wasted resources” on the suspects, particularly time and effort, when they could have used it to go after other criminals, such as “robbery suspects, rapists and terrorists.”

“We could understand if it was done by the general public but we do not expect it from a barangay captain because you should be the example of a law-abiding citizen,” she added. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)