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Senate steps into billiards row

The Senate’s Committee on Games, Amusement and Sports started Wednesday its investigation into the rift between two warring factions in the Philippine billiards scene. The chamber’s official Web site said the Sub-Committee on Sports Competiveness’ inquiry at 10 a.m. will focus on the “alleged undue interference of the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) into the powers, functions and duties of the Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines, a duly-recognized National Sports Association.”

The inquiry, as embodied in Senate Resolution No. 386, was sponsored by committee chairman, Sen. Lito Lapid and members, Senators Panflio Lacson, Manuel Roxas II and Benigno Aquino III. According to the resolution, the probe’s aim is to review and amend “the pertinent provisions of Presidental Decree No. 871 and other related laws dealing with games and sports.”

The resolution to investigate the row between the warring factions stemmed from the decision of GAB headed by former champion swimmer Eric Buhain to require BSCP and promoters of the recently-concluded Mandaluyong Mayor’s Cup to secure a P950-license before staging the event that was held from May 6-11.

The resolution’s sponsors said that Buhain should answer charges on why GAB mandated all tournaments offering cash prizes to “secure an authority from the agency, and that all players joining the tournament are considered de fuclo professionals and must therefore secure a license.”

“…it seems that the GAB decision to supervise and regulate the sport of billiards is based mainly on its desire for revenues as it seeks from tournament organizers license fees, a percentage of gate receipts and a share of television revenues; …this is an unfortunate and regrettable development in the promotion and further growth of billiards as a major sport wherein more and more Filipinos are trying to excel,” the resolution added.