AS sportswriters, we’ve heard tales of brazen corruption among the NSAs, of allowances being pocketed, training money being channeled elsewhere.
Incidents like these explain why in some NSAs, there are two sets of officers who’d fight to the death to become the recognized official.
These stories rarely come out in the media because no athlete is willing to take on a federation by himself or herself.
So, they remain cowed or sometimes, they just shrug their shoulders and turn a blind eye. They suspect, too, that the officials of the POC and PSC know what their NSA officials are doing and have let the practices continue.
The Philippine Karatedo Federation was rocked by allegations of financial misconduct after athletes revealed that of the $1,800 they were supposed to get for their training in Italy last year for the Southeast Asian Games, they only got $400.
Cebuano James delos Santos was among the victims and on his social media page, he vented his anger, telling that the PKF has told them for years that they don’t have money for trainings abroad, that’s why their trips for training and tournaments are limited.
PSC Commissioner Ramon Fernandez, who started opening cans of worms in the PSC and Philippine sports last year, told him that the PKF, like other NSAs, receive an annual budget from the PSC. How it was spent in the previous years is something the current PSC is trying to find out by requiring the NSAs to liquidate the financial assistance they received from 2010 to 2016. Delos Santos has also encouraged other athletes from other NSAs to speak up.
I hope his move starts a movement, not only among the national athletes, but among NSAs as well. Each one has to do its own cleaning.
I hope, too, that delos Santos’ courage will inspire NSA presidents to finally speak out and end their silence regarding the POC impasse. If an athlete can have the courage to speak out, surely these NSA officers, the leaders of the sport, can find courage for themselves, too. To speak out. Unless, of course, they are deeply indebted to Peping and will go down with him.
Right now, Peping Cojuangco is saying the Philippines will be expelled from the IOC because of government intervention. I say it’s about time the NSAs themselves intervene to expel Peping from the POC.