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EDITORIAL: Selective Enforcement

Sometime last week, broadcasters Ed Ventura and Grace Innocentes, through their program (Doble Pasada) over RMN DWNX Naga, took issue about the alleged on-site cockfighting operations at the Caceres Cockpit Arena in Naga City. They interviewed someone who claimed to be a cockfighting aficionado. The interviewee revealed that he took part in the cockfighting during which time two of his fighting cocks even won.

Prior to that, an unusually big volume of vehicles were noticed parked within the immediate surroundings of the arena. The broadcasters called the attention of the authorities concerned about what they perceived to be violations of existing laws and regulations against gambling and non-observance of the minimum health protocols.

As the conversation went on Ventura bared having received a document from MGen. Ignatius Ferro, his former school classmate and now head of the CIDG, a certification supposedly issued by Naga City Mayor Nelson Legacion, in certifying to the effect:

“That the City Government of Naga interposes no objection and hereby allowed the live on-site cock fighting operation at the Caceres Sports Arana, Barangay San Felipe, this City, provided however, that such activity is compliant with our existing laws, ordinances and in consonance with the rules and regulations of PAGCOR with the strict observance of the minimum health protocols set-forth by IATF, the PNP-Naga, the local IMT and other lined agencies involved in the prevention of Covid-19.

The certification was being issued to Mr. Eduardo Mercado, owner of the Caceres Sports Arena for records and reference purposes.”

The document is cleverly crafted to the point of being vague in the sense that while it endorses an unlawful activity, it eludes accountability. No time frame is mentioned, as a consequence of which it is not clear on whether the activity has already been held in the past or is still on-going, given that the term used is “allowed.” Apparently, certain quarters are engaged in buck passing responsibilities.

This is not to question the motive behind the campaign against illegal gambling. It should be discouraged in any form because it is waste of man hours and contributory to family wreckage. More importantly, in gambling, there is a grave danger of non -observance of social distancing that could lead to the widespread infection of the Covid-19 virus or any of its variants.

Along this line authorities should not engage in buck-passing to evade answerability. It is very noticeable that the campaign against illegal gambling is being enforced selectively.

Small time gambling activities like cara y cruz, pull-out, pool, tupada, and the like are the concentration of the operations and most of those who are apprehended come from the fringes of the society. Because they value their liberty, they are constrained to post a bail bond or pay the fine upon conviction.

And yet, big time gambling like online casino, e-sabong and lately on-site cock fighting now proliferate. This is a clear case of selective anti-illegal gambling drive.

Incidentally if operating the cockpit arena is legitimate business, how much did the Naga City government receive from the operators, officially, if any or is this a classic case of “may tinitingnan, may tinititigan.”


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