MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives passed on third and final reading a bill that provides stiffer penalties for game-fixing.
The measure, which had been approved by the lower chamber in the 17th and 18th Congresses, was unanimously passed by the current roster of lawmakers in the 19th Congress in a vote of 249-0-0 on Monday, November 28.
Under the approved House Bill No. 4513, game-fixing occurs when “any person or persons maliciously conduct or cause to be conducted any professional or amateur sports other than on the basis of the honest playing skill or ability of the players or participants.”
A violation is also committed when anyone “deliberately limits the skill or ability of any player or participant in a game, race, or sports competition in order to influence the process or to produce a pre-determined result for purposes of gambling, betting, or as part of a scheme to defraud the public on the conduct and outcome of the game.”
People convicted of the crime face a jail sentence of three to six years, and a fine of P1 million to P5 million, but could go higher if they are an athlete, promoter, referee, umpire, judge, coach, or a syndicate member.
Collegiate leagues are also covered by the measure, but violators who are minors will only be subject to disciplinary rules and regulations of the school or institution they are part of.
Guilty individuals face the penalty of perpetual disqualification from amateur and professional sports.
For decades, the measure that goes after game-fixers is the Marcos Sr.-era Presidential Decree No. 483, but fines are only up to P2,000.
The approved bill’s principal authors are representatives Michael Romero and Faustino Dy III.
A similar proposal filed by Senator Lito Lapid is pending at the committee level in the upper chamber. – Rappler.com