Body Parts Left at Philippine Police HQ Linked to Illegal Gambling, Cops Say

Posted on: March 6, 2024, 12:51h. 

Last updated on: March 7, 2024, 11:20h.

The Philippines’ National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) says the grim discovery last Friday of a sack of severed body parts outside its HQ in the city of Bacolod could be related to its crackdown on illegal gambling.

Philippines, NBI, illegal gambling, Bacolod, body parts
NBI agents conducting operations in Manila. Could the agency’s recent crackdown on illegal gambling be the reason why body parts have turned up at its offices in Bacolod? (Image:

The sack, containing a severed left hand, left foot, and a pair of ears, was found underneath an agency vehicle parked outside the NBI’s offices at about 5:45 a.m. on March 1.

Also inside the sack was a paper H&M bag with a handwritten note that read, “William De Arca NBI Protector of Hanz Lopez Drug Lord.”

NBI-Bacolod Director Renoir Baldovino said that it’s possible that the body parts were stolen from a funeral parlor, since they had no bloodstains and were cold, as if they had recently been in a freezer.

It is not known whether they come from a man or woman, or even from the same person. They are currently being examined by the NBI.

‘Diversionary Tactic’

William De Arca is a serving NBI agent who Baldovino insisted has no links to the illegal drugs trade. However, De Arca is the special investigator spearheading the illegal gambling crackdown. Meanwhile, the NBI has no knowledge of a drug kingpin named Hanz Lopez, Baldovino said.

Baldovino speculated that the incident could be a diversionary tactic designed to discredit De Arca and the NBI, or to persuade the agency to refocus its time and resources on battling drugs rather than gambling. Baldovin said the last major NBI campaign against illegal narcotics was in 2021.

The Philippines has intensified efforts to dismantle the e-sabong (online cockfighting) industry in recent months. E-sabong was briefly regulated and taxed under former President Rodrigo Duterte, but was banned after 34 people connected to the industry went missing between April 2021 and January 2022.

The 34 were understood to have been involved in rigged online bouts and are presumed to have been kidnapped and murdered, possibly in retaliation for financial losses. Their bodies have never been found.

Six people are awaiting trial on charges related to some of the disappearances, while three former Philippines National Police (PNP) officers have also been indicted.

Recent Raids

Baldovino said that recent NBI raids of an e-sabong outlet and a jueteng operation in the city involved “influential people.” Jueteng is a popular but illegal grassroots numbers game in the Philippines.

The NBI has heightened security around its offices as a response to the incident, and will increase De Arca’s personal security, Baldovino added.

The incident on Friday was the third time body parts have been dumped in a public place in Bacolod City since January 2023.