‘Why is UST investigating itself’?

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    THE UAAP, not University of Santo Tomas, should probe the alleged bubble training held by the Growling Tigers, according to one ranking sports official.

    “Sa tingin ko, the leadership of the UAAP should come in and step up. Sila dapat ang mag-imbestiga at hindi ang UST,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday.

    “Parang ganito iyan: iyong accused na criminal who committed a crime ay siya rin ang magi-imbestiga sa sarili niya?” the official added.

    The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, through the Games and Amusements Board, Department of Health, Philippine Sports Commission, and Commission on Higher Education held a Zoom meeting with UAAP executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag and 83rd season president Emmanuel Calanog of La Salle last Wednesday to discuss the findings of the fact-finding committee formed by UST.

    As of yesterday, UST has not said anything about the results of its probe.

    “The University of Santo Tomas has announced that it has created a committee to investigate reports that may run contrary to government regulations. The fact-finding committee is wrapping up their investigation and will be forwarding the result to the Rector’s Office tomorrow (yesterday),” Sasuisag said in a statement.

    “A member of the committee will be asked to submit the report and attend a meeting with the Commission on Higher Education, Philippine Sports Commission, Department of Health, and Games and Amusements Board,” he added.

    Also joining the meeting were GAB chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra, DOH representative Rodney Carza, PSC national training director Marc Velasco, and CHED commissioner Prospero de Vera III and executive director Atty. Cindy Jaro.

    UST officials were a no show in the said meeting after also “politely declining” to attend the first meeting last Saturday.

    The National University women’s volleyball squad is also in hot water after its players reportedly held workouts at the Lady Bulldogs’ Sampaloc and Laguna campuses.

    Like UST, NU officials also did not show up in the meeting.

    Officials of the two schools are now required to attend when the group convenes anew this Tuesday, Sept. 1.

    Saguisag maintained the UAAP is urging the schools to follow the IATF guidelines.

    “The University Athletic Association of the Philippines is committed to protecting the health and safety of each of its student-athletes. We firmly adhere to government policies and directives that require our collective commitment to manage the challenges of the pandemic,” said Saguisag.

    “We have reminded our members regarding the proper conduct of sports activities at this time.”

    The official, a member of a national sports association, is convinced the authorities should crack the whip on erring parties.

    “If they are found guilty of breaking the government rules, they should be held liable for their actions,” said the official. “Clear naman ang guidelines.”

    De Vera, in a statement, said: “The safety of students is the topmost concern.”

    The Tigers’ bubble was pricked after former captain CJ Cansino said he was booted out of the team due to “defiance of authority.”

    The 6-foot-2 Cansino, who has moved to University of the Philippines, wanted to leave the place where Ayo is a three-term councilor and return to his home in Valenzuela but that led to a rift and his shocking exit from the squad.

    Ayo, who is still tightlipped on the Sorsogon bubble, and his players reportedly returned back to Manila last Wednesday.

    Amid accusations of breaching the IATF’s stringent health protocols, UST announced that Institute of Physical Education and Athletics (IPEA) director Fr. Jannel Abogado, OP, resigned last Tuesday and is set to be replaced by Fr. Ermito de Sagon.

    Photos and videos that were deleted showed UST players playing at the ABC (Ayo Basketball Camp) Ideas Gymnasium. A damning copy of a waiver that the players and their parents or legal guardians signed to be able to join the training camp has also surfaced online.

    Cansino, 20, also revealed last Wednesday that the Tigers suffered in Sorsogon.

    UST forward Ira Bataller also claimed he was suffering from abdominal pain in the last three weeks but coaches ignored his condition.

    “Puro pork tsaka sobrang mamantika ng food dito. Tapos ‘nung nagkasakit po kami, sa amin sinisisi, sabi po samin ng nagluluto dito (na) bago pa daw kami pumunta dito, may sakit na daw kami,” said Bataller in the chat group conversation that Cansino leaked last Wednesday.