Bob Bachmann is the current President of the Philippine Squash Academy, and at the same time, the Membership Committee Chairman of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) before he was replaced just recently. In a letter to Bill Velasco after the celebrated POC General Assembly meeting that forced a massive revamp, he articulated his views on a number of issues. (Please read: Waiting for POC’s World to Change.) I will not discuss his basic beef with the current POC leadership as that is a matter for them to resolve. However, I wish to address his remarks on the topic of the Membership Committee, as this has been at the very core of the problem that has led to major divisions in Philippine Sports. So here it is:
Dear Mr Bachmann:
You have really succeeded in confusing us. First, you wash your hands by claiming it was not within your mandate to look into the complaints of the 5 claimant NSAs. Next sentence, you admit that you are indeed a recommending body. And then next, you wash your hands again by saying you do not handle NSA disputes. You seem to be doing a verbal cha-cha dance here, don’t you think?
By the way, I saw an old interview with Quinito Henson where you proudly claimed to have resolved the disputes in NSAs in bowling, equestrian, volleyball and canoe/kayak/dragonboat. And now you say Membership doesn’t handle NSA disputes. Which is which? Now that the disenfranchised NSAs stand out in unison saying you haven’t solved anything, you claim you don’t handle NSA disputes? Ano ba yang urong-sulong na yan?
Granting without admitting that it was not your mandate, why did you not tell us up front that you were not the proper committee to work on this then? Why did you lead us to believe you could help with reinstatement? Be honest, I remember you even told the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation (PDBF) that they had the most compelling case, and that hence, it shouldn’t be long before PDBF would be reinstated. (And now, bowling has chimed in, saying you said the same thing to them.) Why were you fooling these people, giving them high hopes and wasting their time?
Then you flip-flop and say you are just a recommending body. If this was so, where were your recommendations on the cases then? What were your findings? Nobody has ever received a copy of your resolutions and recommendations. Don’t you think they deserve to be given notice of your results? I want to put it on record that after more than a year of waiting, these NSAs never received any official document from you. So that at least they would know what to do. Some of these NSAs were looking forward to perhaps being able to help the country by participating in the last Asian Games. But you simply ‘froze the ball’ on this one, depriving their athletes of their right to play.
Membership does not handle NSA disputes, you say? If this was not a NSA dispute, what was this then? If this was not a NSA dispute, shouldn’t you have at least pointed us to the right office then? You heard 4 different groups air their grievance and kept silent about it. And then practically did nothing about it. How insensitive can that be?
But then the President requested you? Right. And you didn’t tell him it was not your task? Simply waded in on the 4 NSAs’ grievances, knowing at the back of your mind you didn’t have to do a thing. Not my responsibility anyway.
Then you say ‘Vargas was made aware of these facts’. Which facts? So now, you go back to ‘Membership-can-recommend’ mode? ‘And even supported them’, you say. Which ones? Whose facts? Where are the documents? You have written proofs of this? Shouldn’t the concerned/aggrieved parties be at least furnished these? Don’t you think it is the height of insensitivity to make decisions – or even recommendations – without informing them? You think a verbal non-conclusive response is enough for cases of this magnitude? You’re playing with the careers of hundreds of athletes hoping for justice; and you just leave them in limbo? Is that the fair thing to do?
Mr Bachmann, our frustration lies in the fact that you have not finished anything at all. And now, we realize you have misinformed us, and have practically toyed with the future of so many of our athletes. Why didn’t you come up with a written document detailing the points that would disqualify the 4 NSAs? Afraid those points could easily be debunked? Why don’t you answer the points raised? Point-by-point.
And thanks to your news bit that ‘Cong Peping and/or Joey Romasanta will not run as President in the next POC elections’. But it is not a welcome relief. While both have certainly served for a long time in the POC and deserve to rest, it is a foregone conclusion that you will be propping up somebody from among your group. I just hope that people are now more aware of how the mafia has divided the Philippine sporting community, and know that whoever Peping anoints to be his proxy in the POC leadership fight will simply be his puppet. That proxy will protect Peping’s interests, condone the same old malpractices and misdeeds, and use the same mafia group that brought down Philippine Sports to its lowest depths. We hope you still remember these:
Once again, Mr Bachmann, don’t go to Quinito to say you’ve solved NSA disputes, and then go to Bill to say you don’t solve NSA disputes. It’s confusing. And it projects a confused POC.
For more on the struggles of Philippine Sports, please read: