Sunday, December 20, 2009


CARREO by Rolando S. Luzong

Peoples Tonight (December 20, 2009)


Election fever is upon us. Again, we will be able to exercise our right in choosing the leaders that will lead us, govern us and will formulate and implement policies that will affect us all.

Us, sabungeros or those in the sabong community should be on the watch for the candidates, local or national, who we can expect will support or will be friendly to cockfighting or will back any movement or effort to stop cockfighting or put it in a bad light.

The first candidates that come to mind are cocker-breeder senatorial candidates Congressman Rodolfo Ompong Plaza and Monmon Mitra who are both sons of Filipino cockers who are regarded as among the pillars of Philippine cockfighting.

The late Congressman Democrito “D O” O. Plaza is credited for bringing into the country several American cocking greats and for years was staging his own international derby promotion in Butuan City. A generous man, DO is known for giving breeding stocks to up and coming breeders to help them improve their lines. As a cocker, he is regarded as a perfectionist which is actually how his son Ompong is, as a cocker-breeder. He would not use a knife (tari) twice that at the time of his death is said to have a drum-full of tari soaked in oil. Like his son

The late Speaker Monching Mitra gave us the phenomenal Mitra fowls. He was the seating Speaker of the House of Representatives when the Omnibus Local Government Code of the Philippines was signed into law, wherein, a very simple provision gave the local government units full authority over sabong which eventually resulted in the huge increase in the number of cockpits nationwide and the tripling of derbies and other cockfighting promotions whole year round.

However, it’s not only the Mitras and the Plazas that have contributed to the status that sabong now enjoys, but there are also the Cojuangcos (Danding and Peping) – uncles of both Noynoy Aquino and Gibo Teodoro.

Even Manny Villar’s heart should not be that far from sabong considering that his late father-in-law is a sabungero. His brother-in-law, in case you don’t know, is highly respected cocker Mayor Nene Aguilar of Las PiƱas City who also owns and operates the cockpit in that city.

Former President Joseph Estrada is not known to be a cocker, but is definitely in the company of sabungeros from the time he was mayor of San Juan until he became the country’s most overwhelmingly voted President. Names like Ambet & Georgie Antonio, Atong Ang and of course Chavit Singson had been written or mentioned with the name Erap.

Sen. Richard Gordon is never known to have been a cocker, but his mortal political enemies, the Magsaysays, are. JV Magsaysay who is the President of the Zambales, Batangas & Olongapo Gamefowl Breederrs Association (ZABONG) is the husband of Congresswoman Mitos Magsaysay and the son of former Zambales Governor Vic Magsagysay – himself an avid cockfighter.

Among the Vice Presidential candidates, Mar Roxas is a nephew of World Slasher Cup host and well-respected cocker Jorge “Nene” Araneta, while incumbent Mayor of Makati Jojo Binay used to have a rooster farm in Rosario, Batangas.

Edu Manzano has been seen inside Metro Manila cockpits and has a lot of cocker-friends.

Based on the anti-cockfighting ordinances that Bayani Fernando implemented in Marikina during his stint as Mayor, such as prohibiting the cording of roosters by the roadside and confiscation of roosters along with stray dogs, as well as the closing down of the famous Marikina Valley Cockpit, I don’t see him to be of service to sabong and the sabungeros if he wins.

Worst is, I believe, Sen. Loren Legarda who is not only an environmentalist, but also an animal rights activist. During his broadcasting days in her show Pep Talk, animal protection is among the regular topic.

Let’s choose the right candidate that will serve us. Someone who is equipped with education, knowledge, integrity, willingness to serve and has a proper understanding of Filipino culture and tradition such as sabong.

We don’t need someone like that Governor who ordered that sabong should be staged only during Sundays in his province.

Anyone who is wanting to be our leader, but does not possessed an open-mindedness about sabong as a unique Filipino culture, does not deserve our votes.

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