BOC to probe customs police in Cebu football brawl
MANILA, Philippines – Pictures tell a thousand words, but in the case of pictures taken of a bloody brawl during a recent football match in Cebu City, they only tell half of the story.
That, at least, is according to Enrico Mongaya, a Bureau of Customs (BOC) police officer caught apparently "stabbing" the neck of Alcoy FC goalie Rodenel Binolirao with a key. The altercation happened during a match between Ateneo de Cebu and Alcoy FC.
According to Charo Logarta-Lagamon from the BOC Public Information and Assistance Division, Mongaya is from the BOC's Enforcement and Security Service (ESS). Mongaya has already spoken to his superior from the ESS, added Logarta.
Mongaya, through his brother, told Logarta that he wasn't joining the fight, but was merely trying to break it up. Still, the ESS headed by Director Willie Tolentino will conduct a probe into the incident.
Mongaya said he is willing to cooperate with BOC authorities and will send a letter further explaining his side of the story.
The incident, which happened during the 16th Aboitiz Football Cup in Cebu City on March 16, caught the public's attention after photos snapped by SunStar photographer Allan Cuizon went viral online.
According to a report from SunStar Cebu, 3 players of Alcoy FC were injured as a result of the brawl. Binolirao, ended up with a gash to the head, according to the report. The brawl reportedly started when after "a town councilor’s son overheard someone making a derogatory comment about Alcoy players being poor and coming from rural areas." All players in the match are minors.
Meanwhile, 3 of the Alcoy FC members are planning to charge their attackers with child abuse, said SunStar.
The Cebu Football Association has since disqualified both teams from the tournament while suspending 9 players – 4 from Ateneo de Cebu and 5 from Alcoy FC – for 6 months after "failing miserably to prevent the melee from happening."
The Philippine Football Association, meanwhile, backed the CFA's decision and condemned the brawl. – with reports from Bea Cupin and Myke Miravite, Rappler.com