Can we be heard before we are condemned of game fixing? This is the key question that IM Ronald Dableo, IM Chito Garma, IM Darwin Laylo and NM Oliver Barbosa have recently asked the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP). They are four (4) of the six (6) players who were recently found to be involved in what is dubbed as "game fixing contoversy". In their letter through their counsel, Atty. Cris Aspiras Jr., who is also a former National Junior Chess Champion, they implored the chess organisation to afford them their right to due process before they are meted the suspension. They decried the failure on the part of the Chess body to even furnish them copies of the sworn statements or supposedly witnesses or complainants, thus their accusers remain incognito and faceless. They have likened themselves to playing the black pieces in a chess game ready with their defence, but the White player does not want to reveal its first move.
All these titled players have questioned the manner they were suspended. Their query is timely, considering the revelation of former Governor of Benguet Raul Molintas that he resigned as Co-Chair of the Internal Affairs Committee of the NCFP because he was not part of the report that recommended the suspension of IM Ronald Dableo, IM Chito Garma, IM Darwin Laylo, NM Oliver Barbosa, NM Mervin Roque, and MWM Enerose Magno. They lamented that had they been given the chance, they can refute the allegations against them and clear their names. In their letter, they also implored the NCFP to conduct a reinvestigation of the game fixing controversy and requested that their suspension be deferred in the meantime for humane reasons and in view of the tenets of justice and fair play.
The group's lawyer, Cris Aspiras Jr. has not ruled out a challenge through the RP courts, according to this report by the Manila Bulletin.