MANILA — Six individuals connected to the disappearance of cockfighting enthusiasts in Parañaque City were apprehended by members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

During a press conference held at Camp Crame, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. disclosed that the arrested suspects were Julie Patidongan, also known as Dondon, Mark Carlo Zabala, Roberto Matillano Jr., Johnry Consolacion, Virgilio Bayog, and Gleer Codilla.

Their capture was the result of an operation carried out by CIDG-Calabarzon personnel in two distinct locations within Jackielou Village and Fortunata Village in the city at around 1:45 p.m. Friday

These suspects had outstanding arrest warrants for kidnapping and serious illegal detention, issued by the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 40, in relation to the abduction of six “sabungeros” at the Manila Arena on January 13, 2022.

Additionally, two companions of the suspects, identified as Melchor Neri and Victorino Diocoso, were arrested for obstructing justice.

The arrested individuals were transported to the CIDG headquarters in Camp Crame for processing and would subsequently be transferred to its Calabarzon office.

“I hope that the apprehension of these suspects will encourage those who had initially withdrawn as witnesses to reconsider their stance. I firmly believe that our case remains robust, with sufficient evidence to pursue it even in light of some witnesses retracting their statements,” stated Acorda.

Acorda also expressed optimism that the arrest of the suspects would demonstrate the PNP’s commitment to pursuing justice in this case.

Colonel Jack Malinao, head of the CIDG Regional Field Unit 4A, explained that they were able to establish the suspects’ movements over the last three days of their nearly two-month surveillance operation. (ai/mnm)