The Department of Justice Dismissed Falsification Charges Against Bren Esports Founder Bernard Chong

The Department of Justice of the Philippines (DOJ) cleared BREN Esports’ founder, Bernard “Bern” Chong, of falsification charges filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) due to a lack of probable cause approved by Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento.

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According to the decision, the NBI’s allegation of fraudulent receipt printing that took place in May 2023 is too general, and the elements of the crime of falsification lack evidence submitted by the bureau’s Anti-Organized and Transnational Crime Division.

Additionally, the records submitted to the court did not indicate the period when Bernard Chong and other involved persons were actually in control of the corporation, and the complaints failed to determine the exact participation of Chong in the said fraudulent activity.

The panel was composed of Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Florencio dela Cruz Jr., Assistant State Prosecutor Maria Kristhina Paat-Salumbides, Prosecution Attorney Alyssa Nezren Mangata, and Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon for the recommending approval.

The order that was approved by Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento reads, “After a careful and judicious evaluation of the records and evidence presented in this case, it is the stern opinion of the undersigned panel of prosecutors that no probable cause exists against the respondents for the charges of falsification of commercial documents.”

Also, the order added that “mere membership or being president does not mean knowledge, approval, or participation in the act alleged as criminal" and stated that “active participation” must be proven.

“Owing to the absence of an allegation and proof of their exact participation in the commission of the crime charged, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to prove the element of willful intent on their part,” the decision read.

The case was filed against Chong and other involved entities by the NBI and several personnel of Brenterprise International Inc. for the alleged printing of fraudulent receipts in May last year.

Prosecutor General Malcontento also added, "There is no authorization from the BIR Commissioner as to the filing of the case; hence, it is dismissible. The fact that it is related to the Cyber Criminal Law is of no moment since the original charge is for NIRC violation.”

Chong’s dismissal from falsification charges marks another victory for him, as he was also cleared from drug smuggling charges in May 2023 last year.

The order was released just days after Bren Esports received a Special Citation Award from San Miguel Corporation during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Annual Awards Night that took place at the Diamond Hotel for the squad's M5 World Championship journey.
 

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