PSC commish Fernandez files libel complaint vs POC president

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) commissioner Ramon "El Presidente" Fernandez made good on his promise to file a libel complaint against Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose "Peping" Cojuangco for accusing him of game fixing during his playing days in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

Fernandez filed the complaint before the Cebu City Prosecutor's Office Tuesday afternoon, April 4.

Fernandez's lead counsel is lawyer Ramsey M. Quijano. His other lawyer is Jemil Christian B. Marquez. His good friend, lawyer Baldomero Estenzo, also assisted him in filing the case.

Fernandez is seeking P10 million in moral damages and P50,000 in exemplary damages. The case stems from Cojuangco's allegedly defamatory statements that Fernandez was involved in game fixing during his PBA days.

Cojuangco made the allegations during an interview with Manila media during the PSA Forum last month. The statements came out in the Manila Bulletin issue dated March 8, 2017, where Cojuangco was quoted saying, "How can we entrust the national athletes to somebody who threw away games?"

In a press conference, Fernandez said that he decided to file the complaint to compel Cojuangco to answer issues he raised against him.

"My filing this case is really the only way to get him to answer the real issues which I brought up, which is the abuse and misuse of the PSC funds that were supposed to be used for the athletes in the years between 2010 to 2016," Fernandez said.

Fernandez is referring to the P129 million amount that PSC had given to the POC and the National Sports Associations (NSAs) under the chairmanship of Richie Garcia.

Cojuangco apparently hit back against Fernandez, who has been constantly criticizing him for the poor condition of Philippine sports.

Fernandez accused Cojuangco, the POC and the NSAs of making a "milking cow" of the PSC.

Fernandez said that he is not worried about Cojuangco's allegations against him, saying that his records as a player speaks for itself. Fernandez boasts of 19 championships in the span of his career.

Fernandez also said that he is open to settling the case out of court as long as Cojuangco agrees to retract his statements, apologize, and resign as POC president. –