Bren Esports founder Bernard “Bren” Chong scored another legal victory almost a year after getting cleared of drug smuggling charges.
It was announced Wednesday that the Department of Justice (DOJ) junked the falsification charges filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against the embattled businessman for lack of probable cause.
Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento, in a 27-page decision approved by the Justice Department, concluded that there was no probable cause to file a case against Bernard Chong, Alaine Margaret Chong, and others
“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,” the order read.
Chong and multiple employees of Brenterprise International Inc. faced charges from the NBI for purportedly engaging in the printing of fraudulent receipts in May of the previous year.
The decision stated that the accusation was overly broad, and the evidence presented by the NBI-AOCTCD lacked the essential elements required for proving the crime of falsification.
The decision stated that the complainant failed to specify what among the enumerated acts of falsification was committed by the respondents.
“Hence, the criminal intent to commit the offense is lacking since there is no particularity of the acts of falsification enumerated under Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code that can be attributed to each of the above-named respondents,” the decision stated.
“Owing to the absence of 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.”
Concerning the charge of printing fraudulent receipts or sales invoices under the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC), the prosecutors said there is no authorization from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner to file a case.
“There is no authorization from the BIR Commissioner as to the filing of the case hence, dismissible. The fact that it is being related to the Cyber Criminal Law is of no moment since the original charge is for NIRC violation,” the prosecutors added.
Chong was earlier cleared of drug smuggling charges in 2023.