By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

KIDNAP SUSPECTS SURRENDER. Dismissed policemen Rigel Brosas and Daryl Paghangaan, who have been implicated in the kidnapping of an online cockfighting master agent, surrendered on Thursday (Jan. 19, 2023). The Philippine National Police is expecting the two to cooperate and disclose everything they know about the abduction of Lasco, as well as other cases involving the missing sabungeros. (Photo courtesy of PNP-IMEG)

MANILA – Two former cops who were implicated in the kidnapping of a master agent of online cockfighting in Laguna when they were still in the service, have surrendered to members of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) anti-scalawag unit, a police official said on Saturday.

Brig. Gen. Warren de Leon, chief of the Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (IMEG), identified the two former cops as Rigel Brosas and Daryl Paghangaan, who were convinced to surrender after a series of negotiations on Thursday.

“After (a) series of negotiations, our Team 4A (Calabarzon) have convinced these two former PNP personnel to surrender and stop putting the image of the PNP in a bad light,” de Leon said in a statement.

He said Brosas surrendered at the Rizal municipal police station at 2:45 p.m. on Jan. 19, while Paghangaan surrendered five hours later at the Liliw municipal police station in Laguna.

The two, along with then patrolman Roy Navarrete, were charged with robbery and kidnapping with serious illegal detention.

Brosas, then a patrolman, and Paghangaan, then a staff sergeant, were among those who allegedly pretended to be agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) when they took Ricardo Lasco from his house in San Pablo City in Laguna on Aug. 30, 2021.

They were also accused of taking cash and other valuable personal belongings inside Lasco’s house.

The arrested suspects were two of the three subjects of a warrant of arrest dated Jan. 17, 2023, issued by Presiding Judge Luvida Padolina Roque of the Regional Trial Court Branch 29 in San Pablo City Laguna, for the crime of robbery (with recommended bail set at PHP400,000 each); and kidnapping and serious illegal detention (with no bail recommended).

PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said Brosas and Paghangaaan, as well as Navarrete, were dismissed from the service last year after they were linked to Lasco’s kidnapping.

Ngayon na sila ay sumuko ay inaasahan natin na sila ay makikipag-cooperate at ibubunyag nila kung ano man yung nalalaman nila dito sa ginawang pagdukot kay Mr. Lasco (Now that they have surrendered, we expect them to cooperate and disclose whatever they know about the abduction of Mr. Lasco),” Fajardo said in radio interview on Saturday.

The case of Lasco is one of eight cases being handled by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Special Investigation Task Group “Sabungero”, which took the case for further investigation after the complaint for kidnapping filed by the victim’s family before the San Pablo City, Laguna prosecutor’s office was dismissed.

Lasco is still considered “missing” and the CIDG is probing the cases involving the disappearance of 34 other e-sabong enthusiasts since 2020.

To date, the CIDG has filed cases against at least 15 personalities in connection with the missing e-sabong aficionados. (PNA)