DOJ to file charges vs 17 individuals in MPBL game-fixing scandal
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Justice has found probable cause and is set to file charges against 17 individuals involved in a game-fixing scandal that transpired in Manny Pacquiao’s Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.
The alleged game-fixing incidents happened in 2019 when the SOCCKSARGEN Marlins, which the MPBL has since taken over and renamed to Saranggani Province, lost all of its games during the Lakan Season from July to October.
According to the Office of the Prosecutor General, the resolution found probable cause for game-fixing under Section 1(a) of Presidential Decree no.1602 in relation to P.D. no.483.
P.D. no.1602 prescribes stiffer penalties on illegal gambling while P.D. no.483 penalizes betting, game-fixing point shaving, and machinations in sports contests.
A certain Mr. Sung, who is the alleged mastermind in the operation, was charged with 14 counts of game-fixing while Sonny Uy and Serafin Matias Jr. received nine and seven counts, respectively.
Others who were charged with game-fixing are Ferdinand Melocoton (four counts), Jake Diwa (14 counts), Exequiel Biteng (13 counts), Jerome Juanico (14 counts), Matthew Bernabe (12 counts), Abraham Santos (10 counts), Ricky Morillo (one count), John Patrick Rabe (seven counts), Ryan Regalado (nine counts), Julio Magbanua Jr. (10 counts), Janus Lozada (one count), Joshua Alcober (one count), “Kein Zhu” (three counts), and “Emma Meng” (one count).
The original complaint had included Kevin Espinosa, EJ Avila, Nino Dionisio, and Nice Ilagan but the DOJ dropped their cases after insufficiency of evidence with regards to game-fixing and point shaving.
The game-fixing charges will be filed in courts in Batangas, Malolos, Bacoor, Angeles, Pasay, Pasig, Caloocan, and Muntinlupa.
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