Cayetano renews call for upgraded crime labs in light of e-sabong disappearances

Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday renewed his call to fully fund the country’s crime laboratory services and training of investigators abroad, citing the lack of hard evidence that has hindered the investigation on the disappearance of 34 missing persons allegedly involved in e-sabong.

“‘Pag nanood ka [ng Senate hearing], ang sabi ni Mr. Ang, conspiracy [ang pagturo sa kanya]. Nanood ka [ulit], y’ung iba tinuturo [naman siya]. Sa totoo lang, hindi natin alam kung sino’ng nagsasabi ng totoo,” Cayetano told reporters at a press conference on March 31, 2022.

(Mr. Ang would claim that there is a conspiracy against him. Meanwhile, the personalities being questioned would keep pointing to him. Honestly, we don’t know who is telling the truth.)

Businessman and gaming operator Charlie “Atong” Ang owns Lucky 8 Star Quest Inc., which operates three arenas where some of the missing e-sabong players were allegedly abducted.

He appeared as resource speaker in the Senate hearing on March 4, 2022 where he accused other e-sabong operators of conspiring against him and that “a trial by publicity” was being waged against him by some people who are “envious” of his firm’s bettor shares.

Cayetano said the problem can be solved by modernizing the crime laboratories across the country, which he has been pushing since 2006.

The PNP Forensic Group – previously the PNP Crime Laboratory – currently has five district crime laboratory offices in the National Capital Region, 16 regional, and 101 provincial.

Cayetano stressed that while witness testimonies are evidence accepted in court, forensic evidence “simply has more weight.”

In 2018, the then-Senator allocated P50 million for the acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment for the Regional Crime Laboratory Office (RCLO) 11 in Davao.

While maintaining his stance against the legalization of online sabong, Cayetano supported the Senate’s appeal to suspend e-sabong operations while the investigation on the missing persons are on-going to at least act as a preventive measure.

“Tama y’ung track ng Senate eh: tigil muna yan. Kasi kapag nag-dry up y’ung pera, magkakaturuan na yan kung sino talaga eh… Baka isang linggo lang may pipiyok na ‘yan eh,” he added.

(The Senate was on the right track when it appealed for e-sabong suspension because it will dry up the funds. When that happens, those involved will start pointing at each other. It might even take only a week for someone to show up with some information.)###

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