The Court of Appeals in Manilla, Philippines, has dismissed the drug smuggling case against Bernard Chong, the CEO of Philippine esports organisation Bren Esports.
In a court ruling seen by Esports Insider, it was noted that there was no probable cause to indict Chong and that no further legal action would be taken against him. This reversed the initial rulings of the Manila Regional Trial Court.
Bernard Chong came into the public eye last year when it was reported that he was wanted by authorities in the Philippines for the “import of illegal drugs” into the country, along with a number of other people. According to the reports released last year, Chong was issued an arrest warrant in June 2021 and was subsequently wanted by the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation).
The case was based on a shipment of methamphetamines that was discovered in the Manilla port. The documents for the shipment connected Chong to Fortuneyield, a company that was reportedly the consignee of the shipment that had drugs in it.
Chong acted as the CEO of Fortuneyield but left the company in 2019. The drugs were found in a shipping container in the Manilla port in 2021.
It emerged in the court ruling document that another company, called Wealth Lotus, was the consignee of the shipment, thus eliminating Fortuneyield from the picture altogether. The document said Fortuneyeild’s involvement was part of an ‘alleged attempt to confuse authorities’.
Chong exercised his right of Certiorari, or the ability to take the matter to a higher court. The Bren Esports CEO argued that the Manilla court that initially handled the case exercised abuse of discretion and lacked the jurisdiction to indict him in the first place. The Court of Appeals was then appointed to the case, and charges were subsequently dropped this May.
The Philippines has undergone an encompassing yet controversial drug crackdown, its so-called War on Drugs, during the term of current President Rodrigo Duterte.
Bernard Chong shared a following short statement regarding the issue: “The past year has been difficult. I am grateful for the justice system that protects the innocent. The truth will always prevail. I thank all those who offered their support, understanding and encouragement during my trying times”.
Based in the Philippines, Bren Esports represents Southeast Asia and currently fields a team in MPL Philippines, a Mobile Legends: Bang Bang league in the Philippines.