Ramirez is facing graft charges due to the hiring of an additional 95 security guards from Excelguard Security and Research Services, Inc. in 2008 allegedly without the approval of the PSC board.
Joey Mendoza
PSC chair serves 90-day suspension
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - June 8, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — With chairman William Ramirez serving a 90-day suspension that was affirmed by the Sandiganbayan last February, the Philippine Sports Commission is awaiting Malacañang’s order as to who sits as officer-in-charge of the sports agency.

Ramirez is facing graft charges due to the hiring of an additional 95 security guards from Excelguard Security and Research Services, Inc. in 2008 allegedly without the approval of the PSC board.

Ramirez was PSC chairman from 2005 to 2008 under the Arroyo administration, and was re-appointed to the post by President Duterte in June of 2016.

The graft case progressed through the years, and last Feb. 20 the Sandiganbayan affirmed Ramirez’ 90-day suspension. It was reaffirmed by Malacañang last May 11 through a memo signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

Ramirez was “suspended pendente lite (pending litigation)” for a period of 90 days. The suspension ends in August.

The native of Davao City started serving the suspension last May 16, and has appointed one of the four commissioners, Arnold Agustin, as caretaker.

Malacañang, however, is set to formally name an OIC or an acting chairman, and word is that another commissioner, former basketball superstar Ramon Fernandez, may get the appointment.

Fernandez is not pre-empting Malacañang’s move.

Ramirez did not issue any comment yesterday but during the past weeks he had said he was facing the music, and would serve the suspension once it is affirmed by Malacañang.

Malacañang must fill the vacuum very soon because the PSC is in the thick of preparations for the Asian Games in Indonesia in August and the country’s hosting of the 30th SEA Games next year.

At least during the 90-day period, there has to be someone officially in charge of the government sports agency, and with the approval of Malacañang.

Agustin sitting as OIC was Ramirez’ personal decision, and not Malacañang’s.

A PSC insider had said “anything is possible” pending the order from Malacañang.

He said Malacañang can either name an OIC or a caretaker while Ramirez serves out the suspension or it can name a new chairman.

“It’s up to Malacañang,” he said.

There’s word that Ramirez may opt to leave the PSC for good, and if cleared of the graft case may end up assuming a different post, perhaps a Cabinet rank, under the Duterte administration.

WILLIAM RAMIREZ
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