The Filipinos’ fondness for gambling is evidenced by the daily long lines to lotto betting stations across the country. But even before the modern lottery, Filipinos were betting on Sweepstakes, jai-alai, horse races, cockfights, jueteng and ending as well as playing tong-its, mahjong, casino games and, lately, online gambling.
A rather exotic form of gambling is the spider fighting or spider derby where bets are placed on two spiders fighting on a stick. Bets for the spider that falls from the stick during the fight lose.
Being illegal though, four organizers of such derby were arrested in Valencia City, Bukidnon on Sunday. Lawrence Tumlos, Godofredo Cepeda, Mario Das-ao and Beleanio Netesa Jr. are now detained at the Valencia police office and facing criminal charges for violation of Presidential Decree 1602 which penalizes illegal gambling activities.
As part of the suspects’ prosecution, the small boxes containing 32 live spiders, an improvised spider fighting arena composed of a stick with a stand and platform and bet money amounting to P300 that were seized from them will be presented in court as evidence against them.
After being presented in court, the spiders will be released into the wild, according to Valencia police chief Lt. Col. Surki Sereñas.
With local courts notorious for their case backlog, it won’t take cobwebs growing on detainees and charge sheets to know how slow the wheels of justice turn in this country. If the creatures die in custody before the trial starts, it is the suspects who could be released from detention for lack of evidence.