Jinggoy seeks stiffer penalties vs game fixers

(BUSINESS MIRROR) SENATOR Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada wants more severe penalties—including life imprisonment and substantial fines—against individuals who will be found guilty of manipulating games in professional or amateur sports in the country.

“It is imperative that we uphold the true spirit of fair play and athletic excellence, preserving and protecting the integrity of sports activities against dishonesty and corrupt practices,” Estrada said during the recent Philippine Professional Sports Summit.

Earlier this year, Estrada introduced Senate Bill No. 1641, also known as the proposed Anti Game-Fixing Act, which seeks to broaden the definition of game-fixing to include point-shaving, game manipulations, or any arrangement, agreement, scheme, or series of acts in which individuals attempt to influence the outcome of a game for the purposes of gambling, betting, or defrauding the public.

Under Estrada’s proposed legislation, the actual exchange of money or valuable considerations is not a requirement to constitute the crime of game-fixing. Instead, it will be considered prima facie evidence of its commission.

Violators may face imprisonment ranging from three to 12 years and fines ranging from P1 million to P5 million, depending on the court’s decision.

Life imprisonment or a fine ranging from P10 million to P50 million, or both, will be imposed if the offender is part of a syndicate.

If the offender is a minor student, the liability will be limited to administrative or disciplinary actions by the school or learning institution.

Professionals in sports convicted of game-fixing, upon final judgment, will be permanently disqualified from participating in any competitive sport. The same penalty applies to amateurs convicted for a second time upon final judgment.