PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has ordered law enforcers to investigate the disappearance of almost three-dozen small-time online cockfighters, according to his executive secretary.

Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea signed a memo on March 8 allowing online cockfighting  operations while authorities were investigating irregularities in so-called e-sabong agreements. 

Mr. Duterte also ordered the country’s gaming regulator to investigate violations by online cockfighting licensees and ensure that operators were complying with security requirements, particularly the installation of CCTV systems at gaming sites.

“Unless otherwise directed, the operations of e-sabong licensees shall remain unaffected, pending the result of the above investigations,” according to the memo.

The palace issued the memo after senators signed a resolution urging it to suspend online cockfighting operations while authorities were investigating the cases of missing cockfighting aficionados.

Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. chief Andrea D. Domingo told senators at a hearing last week the suspension would affect government revenue.

Revenue from online cockfighting averaged P400 million monthly last year and P640 million a month since January. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza