Some 14 individuals including a former vice mayor of Tubigon were arrested during a raid at a cockpit arena in the said town which allegedly led to the injury of several spectators and participants who fled and evaded apprehension.
According to Lt. Col. Jomar Pomerejos, chief of the Provincial Intelligence Unit (PIU) of the Bohol Provincial Police Office (BPPO), the cockfighting event held at the Tubigon Cockpit violated Presidential Decree No. 449, the law banning illegal cockfights.
Among those collared was the town’s former vice mayor Virgilio Fortich, who was reportedly the event’s promoter.
Pomerejos said the cockfighting was illegal as it was held on a Monday, violating PD 449 which stipulates that such sporting event may only be carried out on Sundays and “legal holidays.”
“Naay gitawag na legal holiday pero dili mana nato masud ang January 2. So it cannot be qualified kay kanang January 2, hindi naman siya holiday per se,” said Pomerejos.
However, Tubigon Mayor William Jao contended that the organizers did not need a permit to conduct the event as it was held on January 2, which was previously declared by President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. as an additional special (non-working) day.
Jao, who is part of the Tubigon United Cockpit Corporation (Tucic) which owns the cockpit arena, added that the said facility has a license to operate.
Based on the Administrative Code of 1987, as amended by Republic Act 9492, the list of “Regular Holidays and Nationwide Special Days” may be modified by law, order or proclamation.
In the case of January 2, 2023, it was declared by Marcos as a special (non-working) day through Proclamation No. 90 which was issued in November last year.
The local chief executive also lamented that manner on how the raid was conducted.
Jao said the sudden arrival of the PIU scared off several persons inside the cockpit arena causing some of those who fled to jump off a wall and sustain wounds from barbed wires and broken bottle pieces.
“Naay usa ka police na niambak sa galeriya pero nganong ngana man na naa may pultahan. Pwede man untang storyahon lang ang management na ipaundang. Ngano pakuratan man na di mana shabu. Kanang sabong ig-agaw ra na sa tongits ug mahjong ba kaha,” Jao added.
According to Pomerajos, they were “saddened” that several were injured while trying to flee as they had no intention to cause any harm.
“We have no intention na naay ma hurt pero kami amo lang gi follow unsay standard operating procedure. Naa pud miy video ani na operation in compliance sa among directive,” he said.
Pomerejos added that it would be up to the prosecutor or the court to decide if the mayor’s contention has merit regarding the definition of a legal holiday.
“Kung naa tay mga complaints didto nalang siguro sa korte ang ilang contention kay klaro mana siya sa PD 449 kay kami amo lang gipatupad ang direktiba sa amoa from the DILG and kadagkuan namo sa PNP. Dili lang ni sa Bohol, tibuok nasud ni na mando,” he said. (A. Doydora)