Sports Eye

Corruption in PH sports rears its ugly head

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.

 

HERE we go again.

Philippine sports is tarnished anew with corruption. Because of this, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) which is under the Office of the President of the Philippines under the chairmanship of William “Butch” Ramirez will undergo an organizational overhaul in light of the payroll fraud involving one of its staff members over the past five years. Ramirez confirmed it was Michael Padua Ignacio, a PSC employee, was the mastermind and has been arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). According to the NBI, Ignacio who has been with the PSC since 2011 reportedly amassed millions of funds and allowances due coaches and athletes for the last half decade.

Ramirez has also formed a fact-finding body and asked the Department of Justice and the Office of the Solicitor General to assist the investigation and filing of cases against the culprits. This kind of misdeed is not new to me anymore. This payroll scam already happened before to our chess grandmaster, the Las Pinas-born Wesley So in the early 2010s. The story was published in our national dailies and according to my source (who spoke on condition of anonymity), So, who was supposed to receive a monthly allowance of P40k as a member of PH squad only received P20k and the half landed at the hands of the schemer. My source said that this was the main reason why Fil-Am So’s migrated to the United States in 2014.  So, the 2013 Summer University Games gold medalist, is now representing the United States instead his land of birth. According to the latest news from the world chess governing body FIDE, he’s now ranked third among the world’s grandmasters with Elo rating of 2819, the highest in Asia today after winning the U.S Chess Open and also the latest World Fischer Chess Championship.

This is also the regret of the former secretary-general of Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) Graham Lim. The Philippine sports is perennially politicized and always tainted with corruption at the expend of taxpayer’s money to projects preferred by “higher ups.” I believe him. He cited what the former SEA Games two-time cycling gold medalist (2005 and 2007) Baguio City-born, Malasiqui resident Marites Bitbit. I still remember her, the former PH women’s national team skipper, who exposed the over pricing cycling gadgets. That was shown on television sometime in 2009.

The sports industry is a multi-million pesos business, but unfortunately it has intricate ties with political and private interests, and culprits scam with impunity, most of whom are unpunished because of their political connections. Like in basketball, rumors that some referees take bribes to fix matches and point-shaving among players are still talked about because of illegal gambling. This and many others have tainted the sports’ reputation. Many say organized crime is behind it. I agree, without a doubt it’s still happening today. Yes, I guess that there is more politics in sports than there is politics in the world.

Corruption in Philippine sports remains unabated until now. Remember, Jesus Christ once said in His Good Book, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Amen.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 JOHN: 8-9

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