Philippine Sports Commission

PSC denies involvement, malice in COA letter vs POC

Philip Matel

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PSC denies involvement, malice in COA letter vs POC

MISUNDERSTANDING. Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richard "Dickie" Bachmann speaks at a press conference

Philip Matel/Rappler

The Philippine Sports Commission wants to mend things with the Philippine Olympic Committee after the latter cried foul following a letter by the Commission on Appointment flagging them for unliquidated funds

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) denies any ill will towards the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) after the Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the latter for unliquidated funds dating back to 1998.

PSC chairman Richard “Dickie” Bachmann said that while the timing was unfortunate, the agency does not have any jurisdiction on when such letters will be released, which happened to be in the middle of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

“The COA operates independently from the PSC and as far as we know, has the authority to examine, audit, and settle government accounts, including those of the PSC,” Bachmann said during a press conference at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex on Tuesday, October 10.

“The PSC is not exempted from this letter issuance from the COA. I also received COA letters from NSAs [National Sports Associations] that have unliquidated accounts,” he added. “There’s no exception.”

He also denied that he was informed of the matter, brandishing a letter from the COA and claiming that his signature was not affixed on the document.

It is Bachmann’s response to a POC press release over the weekend blasting the sports ministry for releasing the letter on September 20 – a day after POC President Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino and other POC officials arrived in China.

According to Tolentino, the unliquidated amount could be traced back to the term of predecessor Cristy Ramos, who sought Malacañang’s help for funding in the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok.

Cristy is the daughter of the then-incumbent chief executive, the late President Fidel V. Ramos.

Furthermore, the POC claimed that the financial assistance, patched through the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), was eventually deducted as the gaming regulator’s PSC share.

Ironically — the PSC check of P10 million requested in 1998 was only released 18 years after the fact — in 2016.

Tolentino was not yet POC president in 2016 as well, with Jose “Peping” Cojuangco still helming the national Olympic committee.

He also stressed that the POC should not be sent a letter by the COA since it is a private entity.

Plane issues

Another issue Tolentino complained about was the dilemma involving the POC, PSC, and an airline for airfare, with no flights yet booked about 10 days before the Asian Games, which started on September 23.

He added that the COA letter might have been the PSC’s responses for him owning up to plane ticket purchases for the delegates, with him paying P16 million out of his personal and the POC’s coffers to purchase these tickets.

Since the ticket prices were fluctuating owing to supply and demand, the PSC was bent on pushing for a fixed price as per government policy.

“Cathay Pacific offered a maximum rate of US$1,200 per passenger…upon the completion of the list, the price will be lowered,” said Bachmann.

“We need a fixed rate right from the start. Eventually, Cathay Pacific agreed to rates ranging from $500 to $700 per passenger,” he continued, while expressing appreciation to the POC.

“The constant changes in lineups by the POC added further challenges atop the situation,” recalled Bachmann, also assuring that the POC will be reimbursed by the PSC.

Bachmann says he will meet with POC deputy secretary general Valeriano “Bones” Floro to thresh out things and help with the P10 million liquidation in the 31st Southeast Asian Games. –

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