President Rodrigo Roa Duterte raises the hands of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) senatorial aspirants and other guest candidates during the campaign rally at the Cainta Municipal Ground in Cainta, Rizal on May 3, 2022. (MNS photo)

MANILA, May 4 (Mabuhay) — It is only proper to stop electronic sabong (e-sabong or online cockfighting) while its effects on society are being scrutinized.

Senator Grace Poe said Tuesday he agreed with President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to end the controversial gambling practice, as recommended by Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.

“Buhay at pamilya ang lagi’t laging mas mahalaga. Sa utos ng Presidente, ma-uuna natin ang pagbibigay hustisya sa lahat ng mga nawala at naulila (Life and family always come first. With this order of the President, we can prioritize the service of justice to the missing persons and their loved ones),” Poe said in a statement, referring to the unresolved disappearance of at least 34 cockfight aficionados.

In the prerecorded “Talk to the People” aired Tuesday morning, Duterte said “e-sabong will end by tonight” even if it will mean losing at least PHP600 million in taxes monthly.

The President said he cannot tolerate its negative effects on families and the Filipino people in general.

Senator Joel Villanueva said he has always called for the stoppage of e-sabong operations.

In another statement, he said e-sabong should not be allowed to operate if the government cannot protect its people against the negative social effects of gambling.

“Money is not the only thing at stake here, but also the lives of our people,” he said.

The Senate ended its fourth and last inquiry on e-sabong on April 18 after the Holy Week break.

Had the stoppage not been ordered, the Senate panel wanted to limit e-sabong operations on Sundays and legal holidays only.

It will also recommend that money transfer facilities strictly implement the “know-your-customer” policy to ensure that minors will not be able to place bets, institutionalize the reward system for a person who witnessed and has actual knowledge of the commission of a crime, increase the penalty for obstruction of justice, and mandate all local government units to include the installation of closed-circuit television cameras in commercial establishments as a requirement for business permit. (MNS)

READ NEXT: Año to e-sabong violators: Expect to be arrested