The Office of the Ombudsman is asking six Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) officials including its chairman Ricardo Garcia to answer criminal and administrative charges filed by former Sen. Nikki Coseteng and Philippine Swimming League (PSL) President Susan Papa.
Office of the Ombudsman Director Nellie Boguen-Golez sent the letter to Garcia along with other respondents PSC commissioners Salvador Andrada, Wigberto Clavecilla, Gilian Akiko Thomson-Guevara and Jose Ruiz “Jolly” Gomez, and executive director and lawyer Guillermo Iroy.
“The above-named respondents are herby directed to file three legible copies of their counter-affidavits to the above-captioned case, together with affidavits of their witnesses and other supporting documents, if any,” Boguen-Golez said in the letter.
Last month, Coseteng and Papa filed a six-page complaint, which stemmed from the PSC’s alleged refusal to grant the PSL tax exemption.
The complainants alleged that the respondents abandoned their duty in favor of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
They cited Section 21 of Republic Act (RA) 6847, which exempts the PSC and its delegation or representatives to any international sports meet, and athletes, coaches and other officials to any international competition from travel-related taxes or fees.
The complainants cited one incident on September 30, 2014, when PSL applied for travel tax exemption for a swimming meet in Bangkok for a November competition.
The PSC, however, refused to accept said request. It not only refused to accept complainants’ request for waiver of airport terminal fees but informed PSL thru email that the request is subject to endorsement and approval of the President and/or Secretary of the POC in clear violation of RA 6847.
The POC is a private entity and has no authority to confirm or deny PSL’s request for exemption, they pointed out.
The PSC gets its funds from the government.
“PSC can now help itself truly live up to its title as the country’s highest governing body for sports. This has been of no value as it looks to the POC whenever it has to exercise its mandate as provided by law,” Coseteng said.
“All side agreements and conditions clipping its powers and giving POC the power to grant favors is clearly out of order. The POC is supposed to only send athletes [recommended by National Sports Associations, or NSAs], to the Olympics, Asian Games, Southeast Asian Games and other international competitions. That’s it. Anything else is just a case of allocating to itself powers that shouldn’t be at all [for it to allocate]in the first place,” she added.