Barangay captain in Dumanjug spends birthday behind bars

BIRTHDAYS are supposed to be merry but not for a village chief in Dumanjug town, Cebu who organized a cockfight amid the strict implementation of social distancing in a bid to combat the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Kabatbatan Barangay Captain Ruel Dinglasa Cuevas, 39, married, and his neighbor Jerry Ligonas Torres, 40, were arrested by operatives of the Dumanjug Police Station at 4:45 p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2020.

Major Ardioleto Cabagnot, chief of the Dumanjug Police Station, told radio dySS that they received reports from concerned citizens on the illegal cockfight Cuevas had organized to celebrate his birthday.

Under Presidential Decree (PD) 449, cockfighting is only allowed on Sundays and special holidays. Cockpits can also operate during fiestas, but not for more than three days.

Amid the continued spread of the Covid-19, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia issued Executive Order 5-G on March 14, 2020, which provides guidelines for local chief executives in the province.

Item II(c) states that all movies houses, pools, recreation centers, gyms, cockpits and other communal activity centers in the province are ordered closed.

Initial investigation showed that the village chief would always organize cockfights in Kabatbatan to celebrate his birthday.

“Maybe he is complacent because Kabatbatan is a mountain village, meaning it’s not really accessible. The activity is illegal and yet we find a barangay captain being the perpetrator,” Cabagnot said in Cebuano.

Cuevas will be facing charges for violating PD 1602, which prescribes stiffer penalties on illegal gambling.

At the Capitol, the governor warned all elected officials, regardless of political color, that sanctions will be imposed upon those who violate measures against the Covid-19 threat. (GPL, RTF)