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CA clears Bren Esports owner of drug smuggling

THE Court of Appeals has quashed the decision of a regional trial court against Bren Esports owner Bernard Chong for violation of Republic Act 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

In its decision penned by CA Associate Justice Bonifacio Pascua, the court dismissed the case against Chong and annulled the decision of Regional Trial Court Manila Branch 53 presiding Judge Reynaldo Alhambra denying to quash the arrest warrant against Chong and two motions for reconsideration that followed.

In its decision, the court found Chong’s petition claiming that the judge commited grave abuse of discretion meritorious. 

In his petition, Chong stated that he had already provided the lower court evidence that he was not anymore a director of Fortuneyield Cargo Services Corporation since June 1, 2018. In the prosecutor’s filing, Fortuneyield Cargo Services Corporation was identified as the consignee of a cargo containing 276,344 grams of shabu concealed in sacks of plastic resin during a raid at the Manila International Container Port on March 22, 2019.

But despite this evidence, the lower court continued to affirm the arrest warrant issued against Chong thus forcing him to elevate the matter to the Court of Appeals.

“If other respondents before the preliminary investigation stage were previously excluded from the charge sheet because they were no longer officers of the erring juridical entity during the alleged commission of the crime and there was no evidence to support such, the same standard should be followed in scrutinizing and assessing the evidence on record by the court exercising the authority to determine probable cause whether the accused should be held under its jurisdiction for trial,” read part of the 27-page decision dated April 8 this year.

Bren Esports is a Southeast Asian professional esports organization based in the country. It has competitive teams in Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, CS:GO, PUBG, League of Legends,

Valorant and Tekken 7. The organization was founded in 2017 by Bernard Chong who is the son of the founder of local footwear giant World Balance.

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