Investigate, Or Wave Bye-Bye To The UAAP

According to a letter issued by a CHED OIC Director, former ADMU player Jobe Nkemakolam, previously the subject of yet another UAAP Men’s Basketball controversy, was eligible for College and therefore cleared to play during the time he was on their roster.

To recall, a certain Atty. Levito Baligod filed a complaint with the UAAP Board, claiming that Nkemakolam was not qualified to enter College and therefore ineligible. He presented evidence ie. a CHED statement issued Sept. 3, 2009 stating that Nkemakolam “has not met the academic requirements to graduate from high school, hence, he is not qualified for admission to college.” The document was signed by a Lilian B. Enriquez, Officer-in-Charge, Director III. Reports via inboundpass and uaapsports.com.

Also contested by Baligod was Nkemakolam’s graduating from Reedley International School, providing evidence stating the school has no record of his attendance for Grade 12, the equivalent of 4th Year High School.

The document reportedly presented by Atty. Baligod was signed by the same CHED OIC Director Lilian B. Enriquez last Sept. 3, 2009. Same CHED official later effectively disputed it by issuing a second letter dated Sep. 23, stating that paragraphs within DECS Order no. 26 series 1994 that says “those who completed the Eleventh or Twelfth grades may be eligible for admission to the tertiary level.“, and that “The accepting school shall have the discretion to accelerate their pupil to a higher Grade / Year or conversely to a lower Grade / Year, depending upon the subsequent performance of the pupil in the accepting school“.

A full scanned copy is available via Rick Olivarez’s Bleacher’s Brew.

So three things come to mind:

  • I’d like to see OIC Director III Lilian B. Enriquez’s first Sept. 3 letter, stating Nkemakolam wasn’t eligible. Either the Director erred in writing it, or the Atty. took privileges with its meaning to interpret it himself.

  • Regardless, CHED Director Enriquez’s second Sept. 23 letter seems to dispute whatever the Sept. 3 letter purportedly said anyway, as it states clearly that Nkemakolam is eligible. So whether we see it or not might matter anymore. However, it still begs to wonder what the first letter read like to make Atty. Baligod assume it says exactly the opposite of her second letter. Fortunately bothe were issued by the same person, the easier to get an explanation.

  • Then there is the evidence presented by Atty. Baligod re Reedley International School’s lack of attendance records for Nkemakolam, meaning that he didn’t attend therefore he didn’t graduate. This needs looking into.

And that, dear reader, is the crux of the matter. That’s.what.needs.to.be.done. Same as what I said about the Barroca situation, same as what I’ll say re any further accusations, scandals and whatever crazy stuff similar to this that will happen in the future. This All Needs Looking Into.

I’m sure all of us are up in arms about how ‘crooked’ and ‘dirty’ sports has become, even reaching the amateur level. Well, here’s what I have to say: Get Over It. Because the quicker we get over it, the quicker we come to realize that something has to be done, and that something is AN INVESTIGATION.

FEU’s Montinola said himself that ‘(the UAAP) have become victims of their own success‘, in that syndicates and other criminal elements have decided to come in and make a profit. My question is: Was there ever any doubt they will? To assume the UAAP wouldn’t be attractive to people making a quick buck is to be naive and stupid. Just the ridiculous ticket prices alone are indicative of what people are willing to pay to have a piece of the UAAP. What more the outcome of big games?

The situation clearly calls for the NBI to come in and make inquiries. And not only that, the people who make up the UAAP: the players, teams, schools, coaches, everybody, need to start opening their mouths and going on record. If they see something wrong, they should report it, which is what gets my goat with the Barroca incident.

The alternative to reporting it is to adopt the ‘shut up and hope everything blows away‘ SOP, which we should all know better by now to produce the exact opposite. Until now for example, we’re all still wondering what happened to the Baracael shooting incident, or whatever happened to key players in the UE and FEU lineups of previous years that were mysteriously expunged from their rosters. Isn’t it obvious that syndicates that instigate these scandals will only get more brazen with their attempts to influence players if the schools keep to themselves? Do we really assume these will go away? Of course not. They’ll get worse each year!

I know I don’t like to talk about anything other than basketball on this basketball blog, but these situations hit the spot. These past decades the College level had been the only level remaining in the Philippines where I see basketball played from the heart. Outside influence however, is threatening the purity of the sport (if it hadn’t already).

The only solution to this is hard and fast action. Name names! Back up accusations in court! Bring people to justice! I want to see someone jailed. I want to see schools admit there’s something wrong, and I want to see direct action taking place! Only then will Barroca’s name have an opportunity to be cleansed, only then will his apology have meaning. It has to be done and it has to be done now, if only to assure us, who love the College game, that there is still honesty in this sport. Only then will people watch the games without any doubt as to the truthfulness of its outcome, when we can really say the deserving team won, and without looking at a losing team with question marks in our head, or eyeing an underperforming player and wondering if a bad game was the result of a backroom negotiation, muttering under our breath how “binayaran siguro yan“.