POC, PSC not seeing eye to eye

Abac Cordero - Philstar.com
POC, PSC not seeing eye to eye
Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino (left) and Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richard Bachmann

HANGZHOU, China – Now, it can be said that while Filipino athletes competed in various fronts at the 19th Asian Games, the country’s top two sports officials weren’t seeing eye to eye.

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham Tolentino faced members of the Philippine press covering the action here, and bared his frustration over what he said was a “malicious" attempt to distract him while the Games went on.

“We were not working as a team here,” said Tolentino, referring to his counterpart, chairman Richard Bachmann of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the government’s funding arm in sports.

Tolentino fumed over the fact that the day after he arrived here with his fellow POC officials, he received a letter from the PSC asking the POC to “answer within five days” regarding an unliquidated P10 million cash assistance by the PSC to the POC dating back to the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok.

The letter, dated September 20 and coursed through the in-house Commission on Audit (COA) team within the PSC, came a day after the Philippine delegation was formally welcomed and the flag raised at the Athletes Village.

“Why send the letter on September 20? Why not after the closing ceremony? Perhaps October 10 when we have all gone home,” Tolentino told Filipino reporters.

The amount in question dates back to the term of then POC president Cristy Ramos, who held the post from 1997 until 1999. Tolentino said he’s clueless on the matter that took place 25 years ago.

“Hindi pa ako buhay noon,” he said, explaining that what he meant was that he wasn’t holding any key position in Philippine sports at that time. He became POC president in 2018 and earned a full four-year term in 2020.

“Give me one valid reason for the Filipino people on the timing of the sending the letter. Why? To distract us? That’s malicious intent. Bad faith,” he said, adding that the POC is working on liquidating an extra P2.5 million for the 2019 SEA Games and another P600,000 for the 2022 SEA Games.

“Pero anong kinalaman ko dyan sa unliquidated amount noong 1998? And habang nandito tayo, gusto mo dito ako mag-explain within five days?”

Tolentino said he never sought an audience with the PSC here in Hangzhou after he received the letter.

“Kakausapin ko sila habang may nakatahak na kutsilyo sa likod ko?” he said.

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