THE prosecutor’s office is the new cockpit for the 370 men who were caught in a police raid in Mandaue City on Monday afternoon, Aug. 5, 2019.

The sabongeros, or cockfighters, are now in for a legal battle after the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) 7 charged them with violation of Presidential Decree (PD) 449 (Cockfighting Law of 1974).

Three buses transported them to the prosecutor’s office in Mandaue City for the inquest proceedings on Wednesday, Aug. 7.

A team from the CIDG 7-Mandaue City Unit raided the D and C Coliseum in Barangay Ibabao-Estancia as its permit shows that it can only operate on Sundays.

CIDG 7-Mandaue City Unit Chief Edwin Lacostales said only the sabongeros were charged as his team of investigators have yet to determine the real owners of the cockpit.

Some of the cockpit’s workers were also named respondents in the complaint.

Based on his personal knowledge, Lacostales said a corporation owns the cockpit. He could not be so sure if Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes has shares in the company.

City Administrator Jamaal James Calipayan earlier denied that Cortes has stakes in the cockpit’s business. However, he admitted that his siblings run the cockpit.

Meanwhile, Cebu City Police Office Director Gemma Vinluan threatens to raid cockpits in the city that violate the provisions of PD 449, which was passed by President Ferdinand Marcos in 1974.

The Martial Law-era presidential decree states that “cockfighting shall be allowed only in licensed cockpits during Sundays and legal holidays and during local fiestas for not more than three days.”

However, the law bans cockfighting on Dec. 30 (Rizal Day), June 12 (Philippine Independence Day), Nov. 30 (Bonifacio Day), Holy Thursday, Good Friday, election or referendum day and during registration days for election or referendum. (from AYB & ANV of Superbalita Cebu/KAL)