Special permit from City Hall allowed Cortes family-owned cockpit to also operate on weekdays
MANDAUE CITY, Cebu — D and C Coliseum that is owned by the family of Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes possesses a special permit issued by City Hall on July 2019 to also operate their business on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the whole month of August.
This was the reason why the cockpit was open when it was raided by elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection group in Central Visayas (CIDG-7) late on Monday afternoon, August 5, said City Administrator Jamaal James Calipayan.
However, Calipayan clarified that the Mayor Cortes did not have a hand in its operation since he already divested himself of any right over their family’s cockpit business since the death of his mother, Celestina, in 2009.
Records from the Mandaue City Treasurer’s Office business licensing section show that the cockpit was registered in 2002 under the name of Celestina. The business was co-managed by her children, except Mayor Cortes, following her death. Celestina had 13 children with former mayor Demetrio Cortes Sr.
Calipayan also said that while Mayor Cortes was the one who signed the special permit issued to D and C Coliseum, he only did such in the performance of his functions as the city mayor.
“It would be a conflict of interest had he (Mayor Cortes) not executed the affidavit (to divest himself of their family business) because he was mayor at the time and it would be a conflict of interest if he will be issuing permits to a business that he owns,” Calipayan explained.
Two licensed cockpits – D and C Coliseum in Barangay Ibabao and Gallera de Mandaue in Barangay Tabok – operate in the city on Sundays. Both were also issued special permits by City Hall to operate three additional days per week. D and C Colisuem is authorized by their special permit to operate on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays while Gallera de Mandaue operates on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Calipayan said that the special permits issued by City Hall were renewable every month.
Following Monday’s raid at the D and C Coliseum, Calipayan said that the City Legal Office and the Sangguniang Panlungsod will be conducting a joint review of the city’s cockfighting ordinance to align this with provisions of Presidential Decree No. 449 or the Cockfighting Law of 1974.
City Hall also had to suspend the special permits issued to D and C and Gallera de Mandaue cockpits pending review of the city ordinance.
While PD No. 449 only allows the holding of cockfights in authorized cockpits on Sundays and during holidays, the City Ordinance passed in 1998 authorizes the issuance of special permits to allow cockfights on other days of the week provided that part of revenues earned will be spent for a specific cause.
Calipayan said that D and C Coliseum is holder a special permit with differently abled individuals as beneficiaries for their special operations. But he is no longer privy as to how the cockpit management choses their beneficiaries. /dcb
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