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GAB scores over Filbasket; OP declares league ‘Unlawful’

THE Office of the President (OP) declared the Filipino Basketball League (FilBasket) under Metrocity Filbasket, Inc. of former pro player Jai Reyes Unlawful under the existing laws.

In a Resolution dated January 13, 2022, and signed by Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs Ryan Alvin R. Acosta, the OP said that the ‘Cease and Desist Order’ issued by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) against FilBasketball dated November 12, 2021, is part of the agency’s mandate under Presidential Decree 871.

“Wherefore, in view of the foregoing, the inaugural tournament of FilBasket being held at Subic Bay Gymnasium in Zambales, is hereby declared ‘UNLAWFUL’ for violation of Section 3 and 4 of PD 871,” stated in the OP Resolution.

“Accordingly, pursuant to Section 2(i) of PD 871 authorizing the Board to order the suspension of any game in case of violation or non-compliance with the provisions of the said decree or the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, respondent  Filipino Basketball League is hereby ordered to ‘Cease and Desist from continuing its inaugural tournament at the Subic Bay Gymnasium in Zambales and from conducting any other similar tournaments or games without the appropriate permits and licenses from the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).”

GAB Chairman Abraham ‘Baham’ Mitra expressed his warmest gratitude to the Office of the President and claimed that the OP Resolution only proved that GAB is acting based on what that law empowered the agency over professional leagues and organizations in the country.

“Hindi natin inaabuso ang ating kapangyarihan sa GAB at ang OP Resolution ang patunay,” said Mitra.

“Even if FilBasket withdrew its appeal any similar violation of PD871, by FilBasketball or other pro-leagues, will be dealt with in accordance with the law. FB’s previous defiance was ill-advised as the rules on this matter are already well-established.  GAB’s advice to organizers is to comply with the law and GAB will always be there to assist in any way it can within the bounds of its mandate,” added Mitra.

“The Office of the President has declared their appeal as deemed withdrawn. So the case is closed there. But yes, we will continue monitoring them and others similarly situated to prevent violation of the law governing professional sports in the Philippines,” said Mitra, a former Palawan Governor and Congressman.

Even before the start of FilBasket last Oktubre 28, GAB already sent fillers to the organizers stating the ‘Joint Administrative Order’ signed by GAB, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Department of Health (DOH) for the conduct of games and sports activities. The JAO was considered the ‘rule book’ which was approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

“Under the GAB-PSC Guidelines on the Definitions of Professional Athlete and Professional Sports or Competitions, “professional sports or competitions refer to individual or team sports, games, contests, bouts, tournaments or competitions where the participating athletes are paid or given other forms of compensation as salary or prize for participation,” Mitra explained.

Insisting it had SBMA permit and approval from the IATF regional office, the organizers of FilBasketball defied GAB. As mandated by law, GAB issued ‘Cease and Desist’ order last November 12, but the league filed an appeal before the OP.

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