Cayetano convenes Senate hearing, seeks to scrap #NewUAAPRule

MANILA, Philippines - Slamming the new UAAP residency rule, Sen Pia Cayetano said on Monday, April 1, that she will help exhaust all legal options to scrap the league's decision to enforce a 2-year residency period on athletes transferring from one UAAP school to another.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations convened a congressional hearing to question the controversial ruling. 

"Show me a free and democratic country that imposes two years of residency," Cayetano told UAAP Board led by President Nilo Ocampo. 

Cayetano is a tri-athlete and a former national volleyball player.

UAAP board member Ricky Palou of Ateneo said the league's leaders will meet on April 16 to discuss their next moves. 

In a board meeting last March, the UAAP Board approved recommendations by its Amendment Committee to increase the number of residency years an athlete needs to sit out -- from one to 2 years.

The new ruling removes the option for a member-school to unconditionally release an athlete and allow him to play for another school. This raised a furor online. Thousands of netizens urged the UAAP Board to reconsider its stand and repeal the amendments.

The Senate hearing also drew mixed reactions from social media. Cayetano took the opportunity to tell UAAP Board members up front how she feels about the new rule.

"Should we hold them back because we feel that we've given them so much?" she said. "There may be valid reasons for implementing this but there are repercussions we might have not thought of."

Athlete's dads share stories

The father of Jerie Pingoy -- the player reported to be at the center of the recruiting wars that led to the crafting of the new rule -- attended the session. He talked about how the UAAP Board has been cold-hearted in the treatment of his son's case.

"Pakiramdam ko, ako dapat yung parusahan, hindi yung anak ko," Jerry Pingoy said. He said his son has always dreamt of playing for Ateneo de Manila University because he looked up to ex-Blue Eagle Chris Tiu. 

Vic Bartolome - the father of a UAAP juniors MVP Mikey Bartolome - also attended the hearing.  He shared his sentiments on the matter and said that the "investment" that league and school officials have been harping about isn't true in his case.

"Ever since 5 years old yan nag-swiswimming na yan," Bartolome said. "Ako ang nagbabayad ng private coach niya at ako ang nagbabayad ng pool."  

"Hindi kami gumamit ng facilities ng UST," he added. "Sa basketball nagkakaroon ng gulo, bakit pati ibang sports dinadamay?"

Relax rules

Cayetano repeatedly asked the UAAP Board to revisit its new ruling. She emphasized the need to protect the interest of the youth.

Cayetano also sought for the removal of the residency requirement for graduating high school players. She said that even a year of sitting out won't sit well with her.

"I regret to say that I cannot support even one year," the senator said. "Their future is in our hands and I will take necessary steps to protect these children," she added.

Cayetano also suggested to the UAAP Board to lower the residency period for transferring college athletes from two years to one year. She cited evidence stated by several resource persons that sitting out affects an athlete's psyche and performance. -