A unit of commanders in Central Luzon was ordered by the Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3) to closely monitor and stop illegal e-sabong or online cockfighting operations in the region. The move comes as an adherence to the order of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Benjamin Acorda Jr. to clear out e-sabong in the country as instructed by Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr.

PRO-3 chief Brig. Gen. Jose Hidalgo Jr. issued a statement saying, “I have directed all unit commanders to ensure that e-sabong and other illegal online gaming will not gain ground in our society, and unit commanders shall be held accountable for its resurgence.”

Back in May 2022, then-president Rodrigo Duterte ordered the immediate suspension of e-sabong operations. In December 2022, newly-elected President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. issued Executive Order No. 9, directing the continued suspension of e-sabong operations in the country.

All chiefs of police were reminded by Hidalgo of the “one-strike policy” which is in effect on police officials found to have been remiss in their task and failed to monitor the existence of illegal activities in their area of responsibility.

“The one-strike policy remains in effect, and heads of command will be automatically relieved from their posts if illegal gambling operations are discovered within their respective jurisdictions,” he stated.

Hidalgo gave a directive to all chiefs of police in the region to ensure that no PNP personnel were involved in e-sabong operations, whether as players or collectors of protection money. “We also need to make sure that no PNP personnel are involved in these illegal activities,” he added.

Sanctions will be enforced for those who violate the “no take” policy system, said Hidalgo.