CEBU City – It’s been two weeks since the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (CESAFI) had sought for the assistance of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on the authenticity of the transcript of record of player Evan Jose Agbong of the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R).
Every sports journalist in Cebu has taken interest on this matter since there was a prima facie case on attempt to cover-up the issue.
For one, USJ-R has earlier knowledge on Agbong’s enrollment with Liceo de Cagayan University following his stint with Jose Rizal University. Since CESAFI rules require student-athletes to submit the records of the last two semesters attended as its basis for eligibility, it is just wise for USJ-R to supply the league with the proper documents, since the Jaguars has in their possession of Agbong’s TOR from Liceo two month before the September deadline of submission of credentials. But for no reason, USJ-R choose to submit the JRU records instead of one from his latest school.
As an evidence Liceo Communication and Promotion, through its Facebook page, mentioned and showed pictures of Agbong as one of the players who suited up for the team during the PCCL 2023 Mindanao Cup Championship that was held in May this year.
Even his teammate with Liceo, Earl Laniton, of Cebu Roosevelt Memorial College, claimed Agbong, like him, also failed to meet the minimum grade requirements of CESAFI.
Then comes the motu proprio investigation conducted by CESAFI on October 14 that led them to request Agbong to sign authorization for the release of his records from Liceo. However, according to an iNews.Ph source, USJ-R rejected the request forcing the league for seek assistance from CHED. That was Nov. 6, now it’s Nov. 19 and no further development was announced.
CESAFI took down its post on its Facebook page that announced the investigation against Agbong, leaving the public in the dark.
A quick resolution of this matter is needed, since the end of elimination round is just around the corner, and all teams are jockeying for position for the Final Four.
USJ-R did not field Agbong on its last two games – against Benedicto College last Nov. 12, and against the University of Southern Philippines Foundation last Saturday, Nov. 18. This alone is an indication that USJ-R knew they have committed a violation.
The public is expecting CESAFI sanctions against the erring parties, and not just a slap on the wrist.
This is a blatant violation of its rules – rules that were forged to correct the mistakes of its predecessor – the Cebu Amateur Athletic Association (CAAA).
If CESAFI can impose harsh penalty on individual – like giving Eliud Poligrates a lifetime ban in 2009 for lying, when he denied playing in a “panalay” game in Brgy. Kalunasan using another player’s name, then I expect the league to stomp its foot on USJ-R too, because it is the right thing to do. USJ-R acted with malice when they opted to submit the JRU TOR, and not Liceo’s.
A lifetime ban might be too harsh since it would deny many aspiring players from earning an athletic scholarship from a premier school like USJ-R. A suspension will do.
One year suspension would give justice to this wrongdoing, just like what CESAFI enforced on Edsel Vallena of CIT-U and Leodi Garcia of CBSAA, and it has to come with a stern warning.
As for Agbong, and whoever facilitated this malfeasance – a lifetime ban. And forfeiture in all games that he had played.
Heads just have to roll.