Carlos Costa in the corner of Mexican Cesar Ramirez

First the Visayans, now the Luzon boxing officials also wanted that the license of a Cebu based Panamanian boxing judge be revoked by the Games and Amusement Board (GAB).

The group, Association of Philippine Professional Boxing Ring Officials (APPBRO- Luzon Chapter) has also lodged a petition against Carlos Costa alleging that the Panamanian is “disqualified” as a professional boxing judge.

Except for international boxing referee Silvestre “Ver” Abainza, all the APPBRO officers signed the petition against Costa addressing it to GAB Chairman Abraham Khalil Mitra.

Mitra is calling for an emergency meeting today, September 11, involving the APPBRO officers, promoters and other boxing stakeholders to discuss the petition against Costa who also is facing a separate petition from the Professional Boxing Officials of Central Visayas (PBOCV).

“The Chairman always adhere to due process. He would like to hear the sides of all concerned and decide on the issue in a manner that there is fairness. If the grounds presented have a solid basis then, by all means, GAB will decide no matter who is affected. At the end of the day, it is about what is fair and just,” a high place source told iNews.Ph.

Mitra, the source added, is acting promptly on the issue because of the “seriousness” of the issue that even known international boxing referees Atty. Danrex Tapdasan, Ferdinand Estrella and Atty. Aquil Tamano has signed the petition.

Atty. Tapdasan is APPBRO Vice President which claimed that aside from being disqualified, Costa also allegedly “violated the internationally accepted principles of boxing” and that the Panamanian is “guilty of conflict of interest.”

The group alleged that Costa is a Panamanian who is only a tourist and does not have the working permit and thus is not qualified to be a boxing judge in the Philippines, especially that the country is not experiencing a shortage of boxing judges.

“As a Panamanian who is not a permanent resident of the Philippines, Costa is disqualified to be licensed as a boxing judge in the Philippines because there is no shortage of competent, experienced and honest Filipino boxing officials,” the APPBRO officers said in their petition to Mitra dated Sept. 02, 2019.

The APPBRO officers led by veteran international boxing judge Elmo Coloma also pointed out that Costa has only been a judge in May 2018, yet his assignments were already many, disrupting the fair rotation of fight assignment to boxing officials in the country.

Coloma who has been a judge since 1994, in fact, has only officiated 179 bouts (source: boxrec), which is just 8 fights more than Costa (163 bouts not 167 as earlier reported) who has been a judge only since May 23, 2018.

Prior to his officiating in the bout between Pablito Balidio and Audie Dacua, both APPBRO and PBOCV officials also wondered how Costa was able to secure his license as a boxing judge in Thailand where he earlier officiated several bouts.

In contrast, another Cebu based boxing judge, Neil Papas, who started in April 07, 2018 only had 47 bouts to his ledger, as Papas assignment is based mainly on the supposed best practice of “fair rotation” which the present GAB leadership has promised in a meeting with APPBRO members in August 2016 held at the GAB main office.

“It is unfair and unjust for local Filipino judges who are more experienced and competent than Costa but have very few assignments as Costa has been disrupting the fair rotation among boxing officials,” adding, “being a foreigner does not mean that Costa is more deserving to be assigned as judge compared to Filipinos. Costa is a tourist in the Philippines and probably without any appropriate special working permit as required by the Philippine Immigration Act.”

The APPBRO also pointed out how Costa was able to replaced Engr. Greg Ortega in the latest IBF championship bout between Pedro Taduran and Samuel Salva in Taguig City even if Ortega was already named to be one of the three judges of the bout.

Ortega himself is former APPBRO president and veteran since 2009 and is an accredited international boxing judge in the IBF, WBO, WBC and IBF.

Like the PBOCV, APPBRO also lashed out Costa for cornering to Mexican fighter Cesar Ramirez that fought Johnriel Casimero for the IBF bantamweight interim championship in Manila last August 24 which was televised so Costa’s act were seen publicly, a case of “conflict of interest” for a Philippine accredited boxing judge who took the side of a foreigner.

“Costa is guilty of conflict of interest when as a licensed boxing judge here in the Philippines, he serves (sic) as cornerman and translator to a foreign fighter who was fighting a Filipino. Then, Costa held the Mexican flag, sang the Mexican National Anthem and gestured the Mexican salute while singing the anthem,” the APPBRO petition also said.

APPBRO also pointed out how Costa violated the internationally accepted principles of ethics as a boxing official doubling also as a boxing writer for news boxing websites which PBOCV claimed has been used as “leverage” of Costa to boxing promoters describing it as a form of “lobbying” to have a bout assignment.

Apart from Coloma, Tapdasan, Tamano, Estrella and Ortega, the other signatories of the APPBRO petition are Danilo Lopez, Gil Co, Robert Bridges and Alfie Jocosol. Atty. Tamano, the son of former Senator Mamintal “Mike” Tamano, incidentally is a former GAB Commissioner himself.

Arnie Najera, the PBOCV President had a near fistfight with Costa when they met in a hotel lobby prior to the Taduran-Salva bout, an incident which could have not happened if Costa was not assigned to officiate the bout.

An APPBRO source pointed out that Costa’s officiating where he replaced Ortega was the Panamanian’s first for the IBF, yet, he was right away task to officiate for a world championship.

“Somebody should put everything in order. Costa’s act is far too much. No working permits yet as if he can do things his way at the expense of the legits. I hope the concerned would act accordingly,” the source who requested anonymity said.

Costa who has been very active in the social media prior to the issue involving him has never replied in FB messenger to this writer when asked for his side.

The GAB source said Chairman Mitra would allow Costa to refute everything in writing and decide as soon as he will have it base on an acceptable time frame.

“You can be assured that the Chairman would be fair to all concerned and that he will decide on what is of the best interest of Philippine boxing.”/AAJ