IF what DepEd Cebu City sports coordinator Zenaida Gocotano says its true, that the interview and screening process for the Cviraa is to iron out controversies regarding eligibility in the Palarong Pambansa, then perhaps a twiquing of how protests are entertained in DepEd's biggest meet may solve the problem?

Like I said yesterday, doubting Thomases abound in DepEd, especially if a rival earns medals and the corresponding delegation gets praised in the big boss's eye, so sometimes, these envious officials love to file protests.

So, how to avoid them? Simple.

First, DepEd has to trust its own officials, that the interview and screening process for the first rung of the multi-event meet is suffice for the highest level, which is the Palaro. No more duplicate screening processes for the next run.

Second, the burden of proof must be against the accuser. Before they can raise the first question, they must have the proof needed, saving the screening officials the time to scour through their records and leaving them with only a decision to make.

Third, no protests must be entertained after the final match or gold medal event; if they really wanted to, Doubting Thomases should have questioned the other team's eligiblity before, not after, they lost the gold medal. Doing so makes them sore losers.

Fourth, those proven to have fielded ineligible players must not only have all their matches forfeited, but the whole delegation will be deemed ineligible for the overall rank. The sin of one is the sin of all. Let the cheating official or coach face the wrath of teammates.

And fifth, just as a proven cheat will be punished, the one who raises false issues must be punished too and if, in the process of question an opponent's eligiblity, a questioner's claim is proven false, then his or her team will be disqualified from progressing further in the tournament.

Just as you are confident that your team or player is eligible and underwent a rigid screening process, the other teams or officials have the same right to have the same confidence on their own teams, players and screening process.

Kamo ra diay ang sakto?

Putting the burden of proof on the questioner cuts the time in these tedious protests and penalizing false accusers eliminates frivolous complaints and forces them to put their money (and work) where there mouth is.

Often times when disgruntled losers talk to media and accuse the other team of fielding ineligible players, they answer “kapoy kaayo,” when asked, “Why not file a protest?”

Adopting these practices may eliminate the complaints and issues regarding eligibility in the Palaro, as what Ma'am Gocotano said is the target of that rigid screening and interview process that disqualified a Cebu City taekwondo athlete.

There are many ways to skin a cat, my favorite math teacher used to say in high school, just pick one that's practical.