‘That is cheating’

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Saturday, February 1, 2014


WITH the bill granting Filipino citizenship to either Javalee McGee and Andray Blatche racing against time, opposition to the efforts is also working fast.

University of Cebu College of Law Dean Baldomero Estenzo is fastracking the papers that would oppose the naturalization act for the two NBA players for the country’s campaign for the Fiba World Cup in September in Spain.

“I am trying to study the bill that was filed to give them (McGee and Blatche) citizenship. I haven’t gotten a copy yet but I’m trying to secure one.

Once I’ll get it, I will refute the reasons to give them the citizenship, then I will file a formal opposition to Congress to stop that bill,” Estenzo told Sun.Star Cebu.

The citizenship bill that was sponsored by Antipolo Rep. Robbie Puno was filed last Wednesday and is now being prepared for the
first reading at the Lower House by committee chairman Rep. Niel Tupaz Jr. of Iloilo.

Although urgent in nature because of the time frame, the bill will undergo the usual three readings before it will be elevated to the Senate where it would pass another three readings before President Noynoy Aquino will sign it into law.

Marcus Douthit’s naturalization act took seven months, but Gilas does not have the luxury of time since the deadline for the submission of the final line-up is on July 30, while Congress will have its break on March 14 to May 4.

That is why Puno is trying to get it approved by the Lower House before the break, if there would be no opposition.

“It is an unsportsmanlike act, or worse, it is a form of cheating. Nganung duwa-duwaan man ang Filipino citizenship? I will file the protest with the House committee then send copies to the Speaker of the House and the Senate President and of course the President of the Philippines. I am encouraging those who believe that this is a mockery of our Constitution. Those who want to join me, I will have them sign up. The more oppositors, the better,” added Estenzo.

Estenzo is not worried that his move would affect the chances of Junemar Fajardo to play in the World Cup.

“I think not. Pilipinas na ilang kontra (if Fajardo will be injustifiably stricken out of the line-up). That is not a ‘daang matuwid’ act,” Estenzo continued.

Fajardo, the leading candidate for the Best Player of the Conference award in the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup, was minted out of the program created by Estenzo for the University of Cebu Webmasters, where he is also the team manager of its basketball team.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 02, 2014.

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