(First of two parts)
The Philippine Swimming League (PSL) community was deeply alarmed with the appointment of William “Butch” Ramirez as Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman.
Our dear president may not know that Ramirez has a case filed by the Ombudsman that is being forwarded at the Sandiganbayan.
The case was filed by Senator Nikki Coseteng together with other coaches, parents in 2011.
Former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) Chairman Efraim Genuino was also charged with multiple counts of graft before the Sandiganbayan for the alleged spending of P37 million public funds for the training of athletes under the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association (PASA) – now the Philippine Swimming, Inc. (PSI) for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
We want our dear President Duterte to know that Ramirez was the PSC chairman during that time.
It was during Ramirez’s term that the PASA swimmers, coaches and teams have to pay membership fees when all the while, the PASA/PSI was receiving funds from government.
Since it is enjoying public funding, PASA/PSi should have given financial support to every deserving athlete regardless of association.
Ramirez failed to realize that. Instead, he tolerated Mark Joseph – the PASA/PSI president.
Ramirez failed to implement the open sports for all program as head of the government sports agency.
In fact, he resigned following the country’s dismal performance in the Beijing Olympics.
PASA also tolerated the wrongdoings of Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Peping Cojuangco in running different national associations.
The Philippine Sports is suffering, Mr. President
Help the young athletes right now and athletes that are yet to be born.
They are the future leaders of our country if disciplined and taught the right way and are God-fearing.
The swimming community is appealing to you.
Here is a letter to you, Mr. President.
“Dear Mr. President Duterte,
We have recently read in the news the appointment of Mr. Butch Ramirez as the new incoming PSC chairman. And I am strongly opposed, along with other parents, coaches and the PSL community, to this appointment of yours and here is my No. 1 reason.
He is facing graft and corruption charges along with ex-PAGCOR Chief and PSI President Mark Joseph at the Sandiganbayan as reported in the news.
We believe that the Duterte administration is for change. But if this man comes back to be the chairman of the PSC again, what change would that be?
Mr. President, we have been fighting corruption in sports for how many years. The past administration turned a blind eye to sports irregularities because it did not dare fight Cojuangco and his evil corrupt allies. But we were the ones who stood bravely against them. We are powerless and penniless and yet we fought these people who have been crippling the youth of this country.
I have read somewhere that you cannot stand people who abuse the kids of our country. And I shout out loud to you. Mr. Ramirez and his allies are the ones who are terrorizing the youth. How do they differ from drug pushers, kidnappers or rapists?
For me, they are the same. For they have robbed the Filipino athletes of their hope, faith and their right to be heroes of our nation.
How many athletes were not given a chance to compete for their country? How many athletes have been hungry just because they don’t have enough money to buy their food? How many athletes have lost just because of the poor equipments that they used? They trained so hard everyday to represent our country and yet they are the ones being neglected, because of the rampant corruption of higher officials.
Mr. President, I tell you, please visit the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and see for yourself the condition of this facility and our athletes.
If Mr. Ramirez indeed created something good for the Philippine sports, then we should have had excellent sports complex and have produce gold medallists in the Asian games or in the Olympics.
I believe in the capacity of the Filipino athletes; however what I don’t believe in is the capacity of the politicians using the taxpayers’ money.
I voted for you because I thought you can bring change to our country and I still believe that. So I hope that you will listen to the plea of your citizens.
I am a mom of four kids and my eldest daughter is a swimmer who has been representing our country since she was six years old and has been making our country proud in as far away as South Africa. I cannot stand the fact that the future of my kid along with other athletes be in the hands of this corrupted man.
Please hear us out. Show us the change that is truly coming.