The leadership of the Philip- pine Swimming League (PSL) on Thursday announced that the PSL has been finally recognized by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) as a national sports association (NSA). The declaration was made during a news conference organized by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) headed by Dante Jimenez at Max’s Restaurant in Ermita, Manila.
However, PSL Chairman Sen. Nikki Coseteng said that their players could not join the national team because they have been denied recognition of the Philippine Swimming, Inc. (PSi), the group recognized by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
Being recognized by the POC, the PSi is also the sole NSA affiliated with the International Swimming Federation FINA, the world swimming governing body.
Coseteng said she had a meeting with PSC Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez and the latter vowed to help her resolve the problem with PSi President Mark Powell Joseph.
Jimenez, for his part, said Joseph should be replaced as head of PSi because of discrimination and corruption.
He also urged authorities to arrest Joseph who has a standing arrest warrant issued by the Sandiganbayan for several anomalies as head of the swimming NSA for a long time.
Joseph is still at-large. He was last seen in Dubai in 2016.
Coseteng said her PSL swimmers should be allowed to join the selection process for the national team for the upcoming 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
She said PSL swimmers Kyla Soguilon, 12; Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh, 10; Marc Bryan Dula, 10; and Jerard Dominic Jacinto, 15, should be given the chance to try out for the national team. She cited their recent successful international bids and their national-record breaking performances as shown by the awards they received from the Philippine Sportswriters Association.
PSL has been training Filipinos swimmers for seven years and their athletes have had won hundreds of medals in various international swimming events.
Coseteng, a former senator, said besides corruption charges Joseph is facing before the Sandiganbayan, the latter is also facing child abuse cases before a regional trial court in Quezon City.
“Parents of our swimmer filed child abuse charges because they were stripped of gold medals on orders of Joseph, claiming that the athletes were not members of the national swimming association,” she told reporters.