MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has released the names of some of those charged with kidnapping and serious illegal detention in connection with the disappearance of six cockfight aficionados from the Manila Arena in January.
In a statement yesterday, the DOJ said the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) filed charges on Friday against Julie Patidongan, Mark Carlo Zabala, Virgilio Bayog, Roberto Matillano Jr., Jonas Alingasa, Johnry Consolacion, Herolden Alonto, Gler Cudilla, a certain Sir Chief and six other unidentified individuals.
The 15 respondents are all security personnel of Manila Arena who allegedly conspired to force the sabungeros into a gray van before the victims went missing, according to the DOJ.
“One of the victims was able to use his phone to contact his father and told him that he was abducted. The father then demanded that the owner and the security personnel of Manila Arena to produce his son,” the DOJ said.
The DOJ added that it has constituted a panel of prosecutors who will handle the preliminary investigation of the cases filed against the 15 suspects.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the National Bureau of Investigation is conducting an investigation into the missing sabungeros as he emphasized that the NBI, an attached agency of the DOJ, has new potential witnesses.
The charges are in connection with the alleged kidnapping of siblings Marlon and James Baccay, John Claude Inonog, Mark Joseph Velasco, Rondel Cristorum and Rowel Gomez, all from Bulacan.
The CIDG, in filing the charges before the DOJ, brought a witness who claimed he saw the security guards forcing the victims into the van, which was then spotted leaving the Manila Arena together with other vehicles.
The CIDG earlier summoned Zabala, Bayog and fellow security guards Rogelio Borican, Joey Pirrira and Arnel Arturo, as well as Manila Arena administrator Cesar Sulit, to shed light on the missing cockfight enthusiasts.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) said it is gathering more evidence and witnesses to resolve the cases involving 28 other missing sabungeros.
“We assure the victims’ families and the public that in the soonest possible time, all these incidents, the PNP, through the CIDG will file the appropriate cases against the perpetrators,” PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said in a statement.
She urged people who have knowledge on what happened to the other cockfight players to come forward and cooperate in the PNP’s probe. – Emmanuel Tupas