House bill criminalizing live streaming of cockfights passes first reading

The House Committee on Games and Amusements chaired by Rep. Gus Tambunting (2nd District, Parañaque City) on Monday, October 8, approved House Bill 7528 which seeks to prohibit and criminalize the live streaming and broadcasting of cockfighting for purposes of betting and gambling.

Photo credit: Sabong OnLine

The approved Anti-Live Streaming and Broadcasting of Cockfighting Bill is authored by Rep. Jose Panganiban (Party list, ANAC-IP).

Panganiban said his bill does not criminalize cockfighting per se. The bill seeks to criminalize betting outside the cockpit arena, he said.

Rep. Romeo Acop (1st District, Antipolo City), who moved for approval of the bill, said that going by the history of cockfighting in the country and all the numerous laws and pronouncements made, it is clear that the bill is meant to restrict legal cockfighting.

Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) legal officer Chad Martin Moscoso said the DICT did not object to the bill.

Moscoso said there is already an existing mechanism with regard to the coordination among law enforcers, the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC), and the DICT in terms of restricting or blocking the transmission of a certain cockpit.

Section 5 of the bill provides that the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will be responsible for monitoring and implementing the provisions of the existing laws on cockfighting, in coordination with the DICT, NTC, Department of Justice (DOJ), and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Any person who violates unlawful acts cited in the bill shall, upon conviction, suffer the following penalties:

• If the offender is the presenter or exhibitor of live stream cockfighting, he shall be meted a penalty of imprisonment of two to five years or a fine of P500,000 to P1 million.

• If the offender is the Internet service provider or website operator, the penalty shall be imprisonment of 15 to 20 years and a fine of not less than P1 million.

• If the offender is the operator or owner of the radio or television station or the producer or promoter of the live broadcast of cockfighting, the penalty shall be imprisonment of 20 to 30 years and fine of P2 million to P5 million.

In coordination with the NTC, the Secretary of Justice shall issue the necessary rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the law. — Eddie Galvez

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