DOJ finds probable cause against 17 individuals in MPBL game-fixing scandal

The Department of Justice found probable cause against 17 individuals involved in a game-fixing scandal that marred the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Lakan Cup.

In November 2019, MPBL founder Manny Pacquiao filed a formal complaint with the DOJ against former officials and players, many of whom from the Soccsksargen Marlins, for game-fixing, betting, and point-shaving.

According to Pacquiao, the players and officials involved received P20,000 to P50,000 in commission for each game fixed.

The Marlins, who changed their name to Sarangani, ended the Lakan Cup at the bottom of the Southern Division with a dismal 1-29 record.

While the 17 counts of betting and point-shaving were dismissed due to insufficiency of evidence, the DOJ still found probable cause for game-fixing against 17 of the 21 individuals accused.

Game-fixing is punishable under Presidential Decree No. 483.

A certain Mr Sung, allegedly the mastermind, and former Marlins players Jerome Juanico and Jake Diwa each face 14 counts of game-fixing.

Exequiel Biteng has 13 counts followed by Matthew Bernabe (12 counts), Julio Magbanua Jr (10 counts), Abraham Santos (10 counts), Sonny Uy (9 counts), Ryan Regalado (9 counts), and Serafin Matias Jr (7 counts).

Others in the list include John Patrick Rabe (7 counts), Ferdinand Melocoton (4 counts), Kein Zhu (3 counts), Janus Lozada (1 count), Joshua Alcober (1 count), Ricky Morillo (1 count), and Emma Meng (1 count).

The DOJ, meanwhile, dismissed multiple counts of game-fixing filed against Kevin Espinosa, EJ Avila, Nino Dionisio, and Nice Ilagan due to insufficiency of evidence. –

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.