Philippine Swimming League (PSL) President Susan Papa and former senator Anna Dominique “Nikki” Coseteng on Tuesday filed administrative and graft complaints against Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman Ricardo Garcia and other officials of the commission before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Coseteng is the PSL’s head of delegation when its tankers compete abroad.
Charged along with Garcia were Commissioners Salvador Andrada, Jose Ruiz Gomez, Gilian Akiko Thomson-Guevara, Wigberto Clavecilla and legal counsel Guillermo Iroy.
The six-page complaint 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 claimed that the PSL applied for Travel Order for Singapore on June 15, 2012 but the PSC did not immediately grant the request.
The travel order dated June 21, 2012 was instead processed but the names of some delegates in the travel permit they had submitted were deleted.
Coseteng made a letter request for waiver of airport terminal fees on July 9, 2012 after the waiver of the terminal fee exemption for the delegates was allegedly not processed.
“The PSC, however, refused to accept said request,” complainants said. “[T]he PSC not only refused to accept complainants request for waiver of airport terminal fees but informed PSL thru email that said request is subject to the 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.
The complainants cited another incident on September 30, 2014, when PSL applied for travel tax exemption for a swimming meet in Bangkok for a November competition.
“[I]nstead of acting favorably on the same, respondent Chairman Ricardo R. Garcia endorsed the complainants’ application to the POC, which eventually denied the application, in clear violation of Section 21 of RA 6847,” they said.