On Mindanao leg’s suspension: Vismin Cup sponsor urges GAB to reconsider decision

Emmanuel B. Villaruel (The Freeman) - April 20, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Chooks-to-Go president Ronald Mascariñas is hoping that the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) headed by chairman Baham Mitra will reconsider its decision of suspending the Mindanao leg of the inaugural Pilipinas Vismin Super Cup season.

On Sunday, Mitra announced that the GAB has suspended the Super Cup’s Mindanao leg scheduled in May and put the upstart league under re-evaluation.

 The decision came on the heels of the farcical game between the Siquijor Mystics and the ARQ Builders Lapu-Lapu City Heroes last Wednesday (April 14) in the league’s Visayas bubble play in Alcantara, Cebu that drew the ire of netizens on social media and even from some PBA stars and renowed sports personalities.

In an official statement, Mascariñas, whose company is the title sponsor of Vismin Super Cup, said while the GAB is right in acting strongly, and swiftly, against the painfully laughable lack of professionalism on display in that controversial match, its decision to suspend the entire Mindanao leg “is not just simply going overboard; it is going berserk.”

 Mascariñas contended that the Mindanao leg, composed of different sets of management teams and players, and different sets of games, has not even started yet and that the only way to justify such better-safe-than-sorry preemptive action is to suspect the entire Mindanao leg of serious copycat tendencies, or worst, possible agreement to commit the same April 14 infamy.

 “In law and ordinary logic, the only way to attribute an act of one as an act of all is to prove conspiracy – a meeting of the minds to commit a wrong. GAB did not even bother to offer any ground acceptable to a reasonable mind exercising ordinary judgment as remotely sufficient to justify its action,” stated Mascariñas. “It beggars belief that GAB could be acting, in this case, out of an abundance of caution, because the Visayas leg, where the shocking parody of professionalism in basketball was played, was not even suspended at all. It was allowed to go on, ostensibly, under “further observation.”

 “If wrongful acts committed in a single match in Cebu, and not by any means attributable to all the teams playing in the Visayas leg, did not stop the games there, by what contorted stretch of logic or the imagination did it justify the wholesale suspension of the games in Mindanao?” he added.

Mascariñas noted that the investigations in Cebu, plain enough for ordinary fans to see, have not even been completed yet.

 “Despite our own biases, there is time-honored wisdom in the principle that the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty,” Mascariñas furthered.

 “By suspending the Mindanao leg, the GAB went all over itself by introducing, in effect, a novel double presumption – that teams there are presumed to be presumed guilty of wrongful tendencies for acts committed elsewhere, and by strangers. It is as if the time-honored presumption of innocence, and the basic elements of due process, and finding probable cause, or basic logic, are mere logical, legal, or ethical niceties it can fully dispense with, anytime.”

“Justice is not justice if it punishes the innocent with the guilty, however temporarily. Players are being deprived of livelihoods and fans of a boost to morales. In these difficult times, these may never be fully recovered, if at all. Worst, and even more profound, by suspending the Mindanao leg wholely, it allows the right to be held hostage by wrong, the many who are innocent, to be hijacked by the few.”

Mascariñas said the purpose of justice in sports is to protect the love of the game, the players, the fans, and the patrons.

“This cannot be served by curing a wrong with another wrong, especially when it is a bigger wrong. Let us hope GAB reconsiders its decision,” Mascariñas ended.

Sought for comment, Mitra pointed out the seemingly “flip-flopping” stand by Mascariñas.

“I am happy that finally Mr. Mascarin~as has spoken as his company is the chief sponsor of Vismin Cup. Everyone is welcome to express their own opinion but there seems to be a flip-flop as initially they said they condemn the incident and now they are singing a different tune,” Mitra said. “While we appreciate any assistance given to resolve the issue, please allow us to do our job with the athletes’ welfare and professional sports at the forefront.”

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