THE Cebu City Council, rooting for Cebuana runner Joy Tabal, has asked Patafa (Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association) president Philip Juico to reconsider its decision against Tabal.
Patafa last Monday announced it has excluded Joy from the Philippine team to the Southeast Asia Games this year.
Along with the request for Patafa to change its ruling come two forms of pressure:
 the “P” argument: Tabal, being a “promdi” (from the province), is being treated badly by Manileños;
 the “let’s investigate” syndrome, which legislatures use to right or avenge a wrong, wrapped in an outer layer of the intent to aid lawmaking.
Bias vs. ‘promdi’
There’s no solid basis for Olympic Committee member Ramon Fernandez’s theory of regional discrimination, except the talk that other Patafa-certified athletes are allowed to train abroad for the SEAG. Bias against Promdis rests more on victim’s suspicion than stack of evidence.
Rep. Gwen Garcia’s proposal for a House Inquiry may help thresh out the major issue: how true are the charges of Patafa’s Popoy Juico against Joy?
For indeed, while many Cebuanos feel the urge to join the circling of wagons to defend a Cebu native, they don’t really know the facts, or, more precisely, have all the facts to make a truly informed opinion.
Juico has been speaking in generalizations about Joy’s virtues, or lack of them, as an athlete. In last Monday’s press-con, he alleged that Joy:
 had no “word of honor,” fidelity to the national team and respect for athletes and authority; and
 had “absence of abhorrence,” or didn’t abhor, a “sense of entitlement.”
There must be specifics about the “bad traits” of Joy, which the Cebu public has seen no trace of. Tabal herself may not know what she did that offended Patafa. How else could she have said at her Tuesday press-con that she was “at a loss how she could have violated the rules” and she “did nothing wrong.” Was she confronted about them and given the chance to answer or explain? Did she get the basic due process? She sounded genuinely ignorant of the bad behavior Juico alleged.
Critics and defenders of Joy are agreed about her performance as an athlete. They sing hosanna to her achievements and wax optimism over her actual and potential prowess in future sports games.
It’s the list of non-virtues that Juico is waving, arousing curiosity but not convincing many of us they are true since, as Tabal alleges, she doesn’t even know what Patafa rules she violated.
If any inquiry must be made, it should be mostly on the unresolved issue of character. Unless it’s all right to disregard that and consider only her being a terrific athlete: she has brighter prospects than many others to give the country honor and she has warmed our hearts for inspiring and training children runners in her mountain barangay.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on June 08, 2017.
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