‘Para madala’: Senators want stiffer penalties, jail time for game fixing

(MANILA BULLETIN) Senators are proposing stiffer penalties and even jail time to players, coaches and others who will be involved in game fixing schemes.

In an interview on Wednesday, Feb. 7, after the hearing of the Senate Committee on Sports joint with Games and Amusement, Sen. Bong Go said that those involved in game fixing must be banned, penalized, and even imprisoned.

“Kung may kasabwat dapat may managot. Ma-penalize, ma-ban para hindi maulit. Talagang lagyan natin ng ngipin ang batas na ito para maiwasan ang game fixing. Sayang naman ang thrill ng sports (If there are cohorts they should be made to answer. They should be penalized and banned so it will not be repeated. We should really put fangs to this law to avoid game fixing. This ruins the thrill of sports),” he added.

Go added that the proposed ban should span all sports league to protect the integrity of sports.

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, in his opening statement, said that he is hoping that Senate Bill 1641 (An Act Prohibiting Game-Fixing and Providing Penalties Therefore) can be sponsored at the soonest possible time.

As one of the authors of the bill, Estrada that he proposed stiffer penalties against perpetrators of game-fixing – longer jail time of up to life imprisonment if the offender is a member of a syndicate and a fine of up to P50 million.

Other penalties include perpetual disqualification from participation in amateur and professional sports.

“Nais po nating masiguro na matatakot at magdadalawang-isip ang sinumang magtatangkang mag-manipula sa resulta ng mga laro (We want to ensure those who will attempt to manipulate the results of the game will be think twice and scared before doing it),” he said.

Go, on the other hand, said that they are studying putting different penalties depending on how many times the act was done such as for the first, second or third offense.

Estrada said that game fixing has been plaguing Philippine sports, Philippine basketball specifically, for a long time and slowly destroys the credibility and the integrity of the games. Allegations of game-fixing, point-shaving and other gross sports machinations have been reported many times in the past, and continue to hound the playing fields which sucks out all the thrill, the fun and the excitement from legitimate matches.

“Nagiging “pera-pera” na lang po ang labanan at hindi na tagisan ng galing, lakas o teamwork ang nangyayari (It’s becoming all about money instead of being a competition of skill, strength or teamwork),” Estrada said.

Meanwhile, Sen. Raffy Tulfo, raised the issue of referee salaries which according to him, can also be a factor of game fixing.

It was later found out that referees from the Pilipinas Super League are paid P2,000 while those in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League are paid P2,500 which is far from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) which is ranging from P50,000 to P60,000 a month.

“Mababa, talagang mag-iisip itong mga referee (It’s low, the referees will really think about it [game fixing]),” Estrada said.

Recently, with MPBL’s thrust to get rid of game-fixing, 47 players and team officials were issued red flags and were banned from the league.