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I saw this story a couple of weeks ago from The Daily Guardian. Seems like cock fights are not the only thing Filipinos love to bet on. 17 Pinoys were arrested on October 11, 2018 in Leganes, Iloilo province. Their crime? They were betting on spiders in a spider derby.

What is a Spider Derby?

First of all, what in Hades is a “spider derby?”

The Panay News  explains it as such: the game begins by placing two spiders at opposite ends of a stick. The spiders are then poked to move along the length of the stick until they encounter each other and fight.

Sounds simple enough, right? Cruel but still a popular blood sport among rural Filipinos.

Cockfighting for children, some people call it.

However, if you place a bet on the spiders, it’s considered gambling.  Consequently, the spider bettors were in violation of Republic Act 9287 (Illegal Gambling Law) and PD (Presidential Decree) 1602, which basically echoes the Illegal Gambling Law.

Spider Derby Bettors’ Web Broken, 17 Arrested in Iloilo

Almost certainly someone had ratted out the spider scofflaws. The Leganes police had been receiving reports for months regarding their illegal spider derbies.

Senior Inspector Dadje Delima, Leganes police chief, said that the suspects were from Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo City, and Iloilo.

All suspects were of legal age and came from all walks of life: unemployed individuals, professionals, and even businessmen, Delima said.

Even one resident from Guimaras, the island province we call home, was caught in the law enforcement officers’ web.

That man was identified as Joebert Dacudao Buncad, 45, of Barangay Concordia Sur, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras.

SEIZED. Police recovered boxes intended to contain spiders, digital weighing scales and thousands of pesos worth of cash, among others, from 17 people engaged in a “five-spider derby” in Leganes, Iloilo. Betting in spider fighting is a form of illegal gambling, according to the police. LEGANES POLICE STATION/Panay News

Big Time Money Bet on the Spider Derby

The men were aware their spider derbies were illegal.

As a result, they changed their venues from time to time to avoid arrest.

According to The Daily Guardian, a total of P32,080, over 6,40 US dollars, in bet money was confiscated by the police.

The Panay News, however, reports that police recovered close to P50,000 in cash, 1,000 US dollars, which included bet money and cash in the possession of the suspects.

Delima said the highest single bet placed by the gamblers was Php17,000, 340 US dollars.

Also confiscated from the suspects were spiders and spider boxes, spider-fighting sticks, a table, digital weighing scales, and a list of spider “entries” for the match.

Some of the Spider Bettors Escape the Web

According to Delima, some gamblers and spectators managed to escape because the police were undermanned. They probably fled faster than cockroaches when the lights are flipped on.

The owner of the house, which served as a gambling arena, also escaped.

The latest operation uncovered what appeared like “an organized tournament, like a cock derby,” said Delima.

(Of course the Senior Inspector is referring to roosters.)

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