MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Philippine Superliga (PSL) vice president Ian Laurel took legal action against former president Ramon “Tats” Suzara and director of finance Donaldo Caringal for alleged misuse of funds amounting to millions, following an independent audit of the sports group’s finances.
“Now we’re left without any choice but to seek legal help, the NBI, for these irregularities that we uncovered,” said Laurel after attempting to solve the issue internally.
“Basta malaki (ang irregularities), millions.” (The irregularities are huge, amounting to millions.)
Suzara and Caringal, however, denied the allegations and said the claims are based on “unfounded lies.”
The two former officials likewise “decided to take legal action” and said they’re confident “the truth will come out.”
According to Laurel, Suzara and Caringal did not respond to the notices given to them to attend board meetings since January 2018, prompting Laurel to file a complaint of qualified theft on behalf of PSL, to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
“Well we tried really to exhaust all efforts by giving them notices to attend the board meetings, especially when it came to those financial aspects and audit report. But sad to say they did not cooperate, they did not attend, therefore we did not hear their side,” added Laurel.
A statement from the PSL said an independent auditor hired by the league uncovered the irregularities and unauthorized disbursement of funds.
Based on the audit, Suzara and Caringal, the authorized signatories of the PSL bank accounts, allowed the release and use of company funds for unauthorized purposes. The questionable disbursements, according to PSL, were from Suzara’s discretionary fund, travel expenses and allowances, cash advances and telephone reimbursements.
According to PSL director for legal affairs Atty Melinda Diaz-Salcedo, the 2016 audit investigated is just one of the many cases yet to be uncovered.
PSL said the league filed the criminal complaints as part of its good governance advocacy in all aspects of its operation.
Suzara and Caringal issued a joint statement that denied the allegations and even claimed that these are “unfounded lies” that were spread by “league personalities,” referring to Laurel’s group.
“In the past several months, we have been subjected to malicious attacks by some personalities in the league who have been spreading unfounded lies about us,” read the statement.
Suzara and Caringal denied Laurel’s attempt to solve the problem internally as the vice president’s side did not confront them about the issue.
“It is unfortunate that instead of confronting us with their baseless allegations in our board meetings, so we could have responded to these personalites, for reasons only known to themselves, have chosen to malign us and crucify us publicly.”
Suzara and Caringal also clarified that they resigned from their respective positions not to vindicate the accusations, but “to protect the sport of volleyball.”
“We resigned [from] our positions because we wanted to protect the sport of volleyball, the players, and the national team and insulate them from disagreements among us members of the board.”
Suzara is the planning and coordination office executive director in the Philippine SEA Games Orgnanizing Committee. – Rappler.com
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