THE SENATE filed a resolution, with 23 of the 24-member chamber signing, on Monday calling on the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) to suspend the operation of online cockfighting establishments until the cases of the disappearance of gamblers is resolved. 

Senator Ronald “Bato” M. Dela Rosa, who introduced Senate Resolution 996, said the President had indicated support to the proposal during a conversation in a recent social gathering.

“I got the impression that he supports the Senate resolution urging PAGCOR to suspend the license to operate of ‘e-sabong’ operators,” the chairman of the Senate Public Order and Dangerous Drugs committee said in a statement.

Sabong is the Filipino word for cockfighting.

The palace on Tuesday said President Rodrigo R. Duterte will have to wait for a recommendation from PAGCOR, following the Senate resolution, before issuing a related order. 

In a televised news briefing, Palace spokesman Karlo Alexei B. Nograles said there’s no document yet that would formalize the suspension of online cockfighting permits in the country.

Senator Francis “Kiko” N. Pangilinan, who is running for vice president, expressed shock and frustration over the matter, and called on both the police and the National Bureau of Investigation to hasten the resolution of the alleged abductions of at least 31 gamblers. 

“Let’s not wait for this concern of missing people due to gambling to become a national crisis,” he said. 

During a previous committee hearing, Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III had proposed the suspension of the licenses issued to seven online gambling operators.  

The Senate body’s next hearing is scheduled on Friday. Expected attendees include representatives of licensed online cockfighting companies and alleged witnesses to the abductions. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan and Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza