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SUMALINOG LAW OFFICE

Cardinal Rosales Avenue, Cebu Business Park, Cebu City


Telephone #: 143-1444 Cellphone #: 09171694095
Email: apr.baang.sumalinog@gmail.com

17 August 2019

Mr. Gedorio Sebastian


789 Water Melon St.,
Tibanga, Iligan City

Re: CIDG cockpits raid in violation of PD 449 as opposed to City Administrator


Calipayan: the cockpit operation was by a City Ordinance of Mandaue on Cockfighting
passed in 1998.

Dear Mr. Sebastian:

This legal opinion seeks to answer your question as to whether PD 449supersedes a


local regulation.

The Facts:

Per our discussion, and the documents you have shown me, the following are the
pertinent facts:

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Central Visayas (CIDG-7) raided a
cockpit arena in Barangay Estancia, Mandaue City on Monday, August 5, 2019, for
operating even on weekdays. Police Major Edwin Lacostales, who headed the raid, said
even if it has the permits, cockpits are only allowed during Sundays or when there are
fiesta celebrations in the certain place as mandated under Presidential Decree 449 or
the Cockfighting Law.

In contrast to the allegation of Mandaue City administrator Jamaal Calipayan that its
operation is covered by a 20-year-old local ordinance as a basis in authorizing the
issuance of the permit for cockfight activities, allowing D&C Coliseum to operate
cockfights even on weekdays.

Moreover, cases for violation of a national law on cockfighting have been filed against
370 individuals caught and arrested inside a cockpit arena during the raid. They will
face charges for violating PD 449, which states that cockfights can only be held on
Sundays, legal holidays, local fiestas, agricultural, commercial and industrial fairs,
carnivals, and expositions.
The main issue herein revolves in which law would prevail; PD 449 or the City
Ordinance.

The Applicable Laws:

Any local ordinance must comply with Presidential Decree 449 of May 9, 1974, or
Cockfighting Law of 1974. Sec 5 (d) PD 449 provides that cockfights shall be held only
in licensed cockpits:

Section 5. Cockpits and Cockfighting: In General:


(d) Holding of Cockfights. Except as provided in this Decree, cockfighting shall be
allowed only in licensed cockpits during Sundays and legal holidays and during
local fiestas for not more than three days. It may also be held during provincial,
city or municipal, agricultural, commercial or industrial fair, carnival or exposition
for a similar period of three days upon resolution of the province, city or
municipality where such fair, carnival or exposition is to be held, subject to the
approval of the Chief of Constabulary or his authorized representative: Provided,
that, no cockfighting on the occasion of such fair, carnival or exposition shall be
allowed within the month of a local fiesta or for more than two occasions a year in
the same city or municipality: Provided, further, that no cockfighting shall be held
on December 30 (Rizal Day), June 12 (Philippine Independence Day) November
30 (National Heroes Day), Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Election or Referendum
Day and during Registration Days for such election or referendum.

On the other hand, most of those arrested last August 5 were bettors, who made the
raid the biggest haul of gamblers in recent history. Under PD 449, the bettors or
participants liable are only those who engaged in "any other kind of gambling" at the
cockpit during the cockfight. Not the bettors in the cockfight, unless the bettors are
being charged under another law.

Applicable Jurisprudence:

In the case of LEONARDO TAN vs. SOCORRO PEREÑA, G.R. No. 149743, February
18, 2005, it was held that a municipal ordinance must not contravene the Constitution or
any statute, otherwise, it is void. While the Local Government Code expressly repealed
several laws, the Cockfighting Law was not among them. Section 534(f) of the Local
Government Code declares that all general and special laws or decrees inconsistent
with the Code are hereby repealed or modified accordingly, but such clause is not an
express repealing clause because it fails to identify or designate the acts that are
intended to be repealed. The qualifying phrase “any law to the contrary notwithstanding”
in Section 447 (a)(3)(v) of the Local Government Code serves notice that it is the
Sangguniang bayan concerned alone which has the power to authorize and license the
establishment, operation, and maintenance of cockpits, and regulate cockfighting and
commercial breeding of gamecocks within its territorial jurisdiction.
Furthermore, in PHILIPPINE GAMEFOWL COMMISSION vs. HON. INTERMEDIATE
APPELLATE COURT, G.R. No. 72969-70, December 17, 1986, the Supreme Court
ruled that the municipal mayor has the power to "grant licenses and permits in
accordance with existing laws and municipal ordinances and revoke them for violation
of the conditions upon which they have been granted," and the Sangguniang Bayan is
authorized to "regulate cockpits, cockfighting and the keeping or training of gamecocks,
subject to existing guidelines promulgated by the Philippine Gamefowl Commission.

In conclusion, a municipal ordinance must not contravene the Constitution or any


statue, otherwise, it is void. The CIDG-7 is correct to invoke PD 449 supersedes a local
regulation and that any local ordinance must comply therewith.

I appreciate the opportunity to advise you regarding this matter. Please let me know if
you wish to discuss further these issues. Thank you.

Sincerely yours,

APRIL B. SUMALINOG
Legal Counsel