To start with, the Philippine Swimming League (PSL) was created to democratize swimming and I never doubted that Filipino athletes can be one of the best swimmers in the world.
One wisdom from the Holy Spirit dictates that whoever runs the swimming sport must have the passion to give equal opportunity to every swimmer.
To win in swimming competitions in Southeast Asia is supposedly easy. However, this has become difficult to accomplish because of the membership issues that started in 1986 when the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association (PASA) was registered in the Security Exchange Commission by Mark Joseph, Ral Rosario and others whose main objective was to make to make the group exclusive.
I saw the difference on how swimming sports was run during my time, when swimming was open to all. And I see now how it is being manipulated. I saw clearly that they do not have mercy on the young swimmers who have full potential. In 2007, I saw the corruption and the abuse of power in the swimming community.
There was rampant discrimination. Swimmers who are not members of the Philippine Swimming Inc. (formerly PASA) were not allowed to use the pool together with PSI members, and they cannot compete with each other. There was even a time when Bicol swimmers were not allowed to compete in their own province.
There were threats of suspension from Joseph that according to FINA rules, members cannot have any relationship whatsoever to non-members of PSI. Anyone who wants to swim should be a member of PSI. I saw clearly that swimming will sink and I called the attention of Joseph and government officials but my call fell on deaf ears. I have repeatedly said that we have had ZERO medals since 1986, except during the 1990 Asian Games from Ryan Papa, who was trained in the US.
I clearly saw the abuse of power when good swimmers were stripped off their winnings in international competition, for the reason that they are not members of PASA. I saw how Joseph instilled in the mind of everyone all swimmers should be PASA members. I saw how the good swimmers in Mindanao began to lose interest in the sport because of membership issues and fees.
I saw that the system had to be changed, even though I have to deal with the Philippine Olympic Committee under Peping Cojuangco, the past PSC leaders who were indebted to Cojuangco and the PSI, the NSA under POC. I saw clearly that I needed help. I saw the need to stop political patronage. I always believed in divine intervention, divine providence, and I prayed for it.
It came in 2010 when Sen. Nikki Coseteng was looking for a swimming coach and learned it has to be coursed through the PSI. Coseteng found out that her entire team of almost 2,000 students, taking swimming lessons with a PASA coach, had to be registered with PSI and this will cost her close to a million pesos at the membership fee of P400.
(To be continued)