MANILA, OCTOBER 15, 2003 (STAR) By Nelson Beltran - PBA commissioner Noli Eala said yesterday the Games and Amusements Board went out of bounds in making its own probe and subsequently making its own decision on drug-related cases in the PBA.

"The decision was made with grave abuse of discretion because the PBA was never made a party to the hearings. We were not informed as to the appeal of these players, we were not informed as to our capacity or involvement in the inquiry whether we are a party, litigant, respondent or an accused in the GAB inquiry," said Eala.

"The decision of the GAB is not only fatally flawed, it has no factual or legal basis and more significantly made in excess of jurisdiction because the GAB only has supervisory and regulatory functions over the PBA and has no control over the PBA," he added.

"Decisions of the PBA concerning discipline of its players and conduct of the league can only be reversed if itís violative of existing laws, and only the courts can make such declarations."

The PBA commissioner made this reaction after the GAB released Monday the result of its inquiry exonerating Ginebra ace player Jun Limpot from charges of use of illegal drugs.

Eala refused to talk about the merits of the case saying itís moot and academic because Limpot has served a suspension and has been reinstated.

"This is a dead issue. Why is this thing done at this time? Iím afraid this is done to embellish their image at the expense of the PBA because it came at a time when they are being criticized for certain activities in boxing," Eala said.

"Otherwise, why they didnít make public their decisions on the other players," he added.

According to Eala, the GAB found one certain player guilty after withdrawing his appeal.

PBA legal counsel Melvin Mendoza also pointed out that the authority of the GAB over the PBA under PD No. 871 is merely supervisory and regulatory and does not include control.

"Within the context of PD 871, the GABís supervisory and regulatory authority is only over the games, over technical matters pertaining to the games and to issue licenses to officials, players and persons connected to the games," Mendoza said.

The GAB decision, recorded and signed last Sept. 28 but released only last Oct. 10, said the "action of the PBA finding the appellant (Limpot) positive for the use of shabu and imposing the penalty of immediate and indefinite suspension is reversed and set aside."

The PBA legal counsel said the league is standing by and upholding the sanctity of the drug testing actually conducted by the Department of Health and the PNP Crime Laboratory.

Meanwhile, Limpot said heís ready to forgive, forget and concentrate on playing after being cleared of illegal drug use by the Games and Amusements Board.

"My family has yet to discuss it but my intention is to forget everything. From the beginning, I only wanted my name cleared. Itís done," said Limpot in Tagalog.

"I harbor no ill feelings. In the first place, I also owe the PBA a lot," he added.

Limpot said heís grateful to the GAB for exonerating him from charges of illegal drug use that caused his suspension in the PBA.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved