PNP chief, Gen. Dionardo Carlos (File photo)

MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos on Monday has ordered to expedite dismissal proceedings against the police officer who is facing criminal and administrative complaints due to his addiction to 'e-sabong' (online cockfighting).

Carlos said summary dismissal proceedings are underway against Lt. John Kevin Menes, 24, assigned with the PNP Drug Enforcement Group – Special Operations Unit – 4 (DEG– SOU4) of the Police Regional Office 4A (Calabarzon), who is now facing charges of estafa and illegal gambling.

“His activity inside a gambling establishment is in violation of a specific directive issued by the National Headquarters which constitutes Grave Misconduct under PNP Rules,” Carlos said in a press conference in Camp Crame.

Menes joins seven other PNP personnel penalized for similar gambling violations since February 2017 when the PNP started an internal crackdown against personnel engaged in different forms of gambling.

Carlos urged all unit commanders to inspect the gadgets of their subordinates to determine those who are hooked on e-sabong.

"We are protecting our personnel from becoming addicted or addicted to that kind of gaming and will continue to inspect the cellphone of our personnel if they have such an app. If not, look at the trash bin and maybe just erase it. If you really want more, let's go for forensic, digital forensic for not following the specific instruction. Again we don't do it for ourselves to help the police because no one admits that he is addicted to gambling. They never realize that it's too late in the day but we would like to help them, that's why we are doing this inspection,” Carlos stressed.

The suspect was earlier restricted to quarters inside Camp Vicente Lim, Calamba, Laguna over an administrative complaint involving the operational funds of his unit.

He later escaped and was arrested by the Manila police inside a betting station in Sta. Mesa last March 30 after he was held by employees of the establishment due to unpaid debts worth PHP15,000.

Search for missing 'sabungeros'

In a related development, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) director Maj. Gen. Eliseo Cruz said they filed criminal cases against eight people tagged in the kidnapping of at least six cockfighting players (sabungeros) at the Manila Arena who all remain missing until this time.

"Out of the eight cases of missing sabungeros being handled by CIDG involving 34 persons missing, we were able to clear one that is the incident that happened at the Manila Arena wherein we were able to file cases against eight suspects who were believed to be responsible in this case," Cruz told reporters.

Cruz said they are now also preparing another case for identified persons behind the kidnapping of online sabong (cockfighting) financier in Laguna.

"We are about to file another case of kidnapping and serious illegal detention against identified suspects that happened in San Pablo City wherein a certain victim, Mr. (Ricardo) Lasco, was abducted by at least five suspects who were identified out of the more than 10 armed suspects who abducted the victim, Mr. Lasco," he added.

Cruz said they are also working on a third case involving missing cockfighting aficionados in Meycauayan, Bulacan.

"We are still gathering the testimonies or the cooperation of possible witnesses here and we are in the process of securing documentary and physical evidence for us to be able to file the appropriate cases before the prosecutor's office," Cruz said.

During a Senate investigation, a certain Pat. Roy Navarrete was identified as one of the armed men who took Lasco. This triggered speculations that policemen are involved in some of the cases.

This speculation was further fueled after two more policemen were positively identified.

All of the missing sabungeros remain unaccounted for.

Reports said their abduction is allegedly a part of the crackdown of online cockfighting operators against those engaged in game-fixing. (PNA)