THE STATE OF COCKFIGHTING YESTERDAY AND TODAY
by Wilfredo M. Canumay
In the field of cockfighting during the sixties cock derbies are rare occasion. Usually well attended. Cockpits are fully pack to the rafters. They are held only once or twice a year. Either, at the Araneta Coliseum or at the Paranaque Cockpit owned by Don Claro S. Cortez…now Roligon Mega Cockpit.
Paranaque Cockpit activities were arranged and hosted by a group of cockers which call themselves United Cockers Club This is composed of brothers Ramoning & Oscar Rivero, Eddie Araneta of Liza Galore, Hector & Mayo Lacson of Bacolod City, Johnny Veloso and Bert Moran who uses that “Malaking Pulo” breed from Batangas.
Then we have colorful aficionados like Enrique “Henry” Tan of Grand Central Stable, Ely Cruz of Taytay, Totoy Atacador, Oscar “Lover Boy“, Abraham Salacata, Desiderio Dalisay of the first PAL highjacking hostage fame, Pete Habaluyas, Biboy Enriquez, Francis de Borja, Amado Garcia of Davao, Esting Teopaco, etc.
Politicians include James Chiongbian, Peping Cojuanco, Amado Bagatsing, Boy Asistio, Menyong Teves, Samuel Reyes, Monching Mitra, Rudy Albano and Jose Aldeguer of Sara Warriors farm at Diliman were derbies were held before the imposition of Martial Law in 1972.
From this group form the nucleus that is responsible for the spread of derbies in the neighboring provinces . First in Bulacan was hosted by the late father of Jessie Viceo , Mang Emeng and Judge Cornejo, with the able assistance of Leobing Villarama.
Then it spread to as far as Bagiuo by brothers Edward & George Henry at Lamtang and by Atty. Tony Tabora at Trinidad Valley.
Then, to Bauang La Union, the derby brought by Oscar Rivero at Nalinac Beach. Then to the martial law days, derbies were held on a weekly basis, that is during Sundays, were it is legal. During week days you need a special permit from the Philippine Constabulary, but it is hard to secure one . . . So derbies were stage during Sundays at Paranaque Cockpit under the management of Jun Dominguez.
At this point in time, out came gentlemen cocker of great stature like Don Jose Rodriguez Lanuza and Don Ricardo Silverio. And one particular cockfighter stood tall among them all, an upstart by the name of Jessie Cabalza. He is the “ idol “ of that era. As Patrick Antonio is the idol of today.
This era also produces one shrewd and cunning cocker that is Rudy Velayo. The craftiness of this guy is never equalled up to this day. No one even comes near. Not even the son Raymundo Velayo can lay claim to that throne. My apology to you sir Raymundo.
His adversary call him a Jew. . . and a scheming one. He always ask for big odds for every bet he takes. Thus they call him a jew, who is always out to exact a pound of flesh from you.
This illustrious gentlemen cocker always place his bet on the under dog or dehado. Most cockers consider him for an ignoramus when it comes to sizing - up birds in terms of quality. Well they are mistaken for he definitely is not. He has this cunning ability to bet small, if to his estimate the under dog’s winning chance is nil. But always he ask for big odds, to counter - bet that inferior quality. Usually the turn - out is in his favor. His keen sense of spotting a winner is not base birds, but base on the lossing streak of his opponents.
He also employ some sort of psyche war. With an unconventional arm in the form of a whistle. And when gets into your nerves , and rattles tour brain better call it a day. For he will surely beat you to a pulp.
I believe Mr. Silverio got a hard time shaking that pesty whistle sound out of his nerve if not out of his ears.
Speaking of Mr. Silverio, when he gets into the scene, cockfighting, goes high stakes. Before, seldom will you hear a hundred thousand bet. With his coming a big bet does not bring an uproar from the crowd any more.
Before his advent, bets were on cash to cash basis only. Checks are being frowned upon. With his entry into cockfighting, issuance of checks to cover bets become the mode of payment. And it reached its peak during the Teresa Square Garden days of the colonel, even up to now.
At the Colonel ‘s haven, cockfights are at its prime. It is also during its heyday that a deadly virus is born . . . bad checks . . . It has grown into epidemic proportion, affecting the whole cockfighting archipelago . . . a . . . plague . . . a scourge, it is rearing its ugly head on cockpit operation. So devastating is its effect that operators and promoters are contemplating to cease operation.
Another ugly practice being use by cockers today is… to quote Patrick Antonio, “ betting before is called glamour betting . . . today it is wise betting “.
By this he meant that when an entry is pit against a big guy, he bets low, but when he is matched against a nobody, he bets sky high.
So wise are the players that promoters don’t make much out of the center bets. The only hope left for the promoter to make money is in the gate receipts. They argued that quality fights will attract paying patrons even if there are only few numbers of fights, which usually don’t turn out right.
Another disgusting habit employed by this wise and smart players, is issuing big amount check for a small ‘ pago’.
For a 5,000.00 pago they will issue a 50,000.00 check. Against the wall you are forced to make a change of P45,000.00. It is unfair and very risky deal indeed.
Another garbage the’ll throw at your face - is pay you with a check from other person with their endorsement at the back. They will say “Sagot ko ‘yan pag pumutok” and if you don’t accept the said check they will say “Mag - antay ka muna hindi pa ako nakasingil”.
It won’t pay to sue these people though considering that a violator could buy his liberty for a measly P1,000- bail. If you go to court to collect P10,000.00 you end up spending P100,000.00
What’s more discouraging is that the endorser of a bad check does not have the obligation to pay …that’s the law.
And with the recent fiasco in the Mandaluyong Coliseum, something just have to be done…soon and fast.
I hate to end this article on a bad note, but that’s today’s reality. Let’s fight our roosters for fame and honor. If your intention is to gamble better go to the casinos. There, you will not be able to victimize other trusting cockers, but only the loan sharks.