Six individuals, including a barangay chairman, were taken into custody in Manila for reportedly operating a cockpit amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

Four of the suspects, identified as Daryl Ellorin, 30; Arnel King, 32; Daniel Custodio, 37; and Lito Siana, 50, were arrested in an operation conducted by the Raxabago Police Station on Simoun Street corner Patria at about 12:30 noon on July 19.

Two fighting cocks and P500 worth of cash were confiscated from the suspects.

The barangay chairman, Silvestre Dumagat Jr. of Barangay 125 in Tondo, escaped together with his caretaker, Wilfredo Marullano, after they recognized the approaching police officers.

Through a follow-up operation at 1 p.m. on the same day, the police got hold of the chairman and Marullano while they were waiting for the next cockfighting match.

An earlier police operation on April 5 was conducted in the same place.

Lt. Col. Cristopher Navida, the Manila Police District Station 1 commander, said he had dissuaded Dumagat against continuing the illegal activity but the barangay chief continued to operate.

Dumagat is facing a number of charges, including violation of City Ordinance 8627 (mandatory use of face masks in all public places), Republic Act 11332 (non-cooperation amid the Covid-19 pandemic) and Presidential Decree (PD) 1602 (cockfighting).

Marullano will also face charges for violating City Ordinance 8627 and RA 11332, while the four first arrested will be charged with violating PD 1602. Jojo Mangahis