The Philippine Bowling Congress (PBC) used to be the duly-recognized national governing body/NSA for tenpin bowling. It is also a long-standing member of the World Bowling (WB, formerly FIQ and WTBA) and the Asian Bowling Federation (ABF). On March 22, 2015, the PBC held its election of officers, inviting a designated POC representative to witness the proceedings. However, then POC Chairman Tomas Carrasco did not show up on election day, allegedly for failure of the PBC to submit its membership book and the specimen signatures of those who executed proxies for validation. It will be noted, however, that these particular items are not required to be submitted under the POC General Assembly Resolution dated January 24, 2007 which governs NSA elections.
POC refused to recognize the election of the new set of PBC Officers. Prior to this, PBC had been perceived to be unsupportive of Peping Cojuangco, the then POC President, in his re-election bid for the following year. After the elections, Peping denied the PBC of his attention and support, prompting then PBC President and his Executive Vice-President to resign in frustration in January 2016.
Unknown to PBC, then POC Secretary-General Steve Hontiveros had written to PSC Chairman Richie Garcia on November 26, 2015 to inform him that the POC was “taking over the Philippine Bowling Congress (PBC) for the meantime due to the non-recognition of the election of the PBC held last March 22, 2015.” On February 5, 2016, the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted Peping as saying that POC would be establishing a “caretaker body” to be headed by Hontiveros whose supposed objective was “to put the Philippine Bowling Congress in order”, all this without the knowledge and consent of the PBC.
Documents will show that Steve misrepresented himself as the Officer-In-Charge (OIC) of PBC and that he, in fact, took over the management of the organization until September 30, 2016. Incontrovertible evidences will also show that Steve Hontiveros and Alex Lim misrepresented themselves as PBC President and PBC Secretary-General respectively in the World Bowling (WB) and the Asian Bowling Federation (ABF). While misrepresenting themselves as the PBC heads, both had the opportunity to network with the key WB and ABF personalities, which later would come in handy in elbowing out the legitimate PBC leadership.
But the PBC would not budge. Unable to legally assume the PBC Presidency, Steve and his cohorts incorporated the Philippine Bowling Federation, Inc. (PBF) in June 2016. On October 1, 2016, PBC was replaced by the PBF without observing the POC rules on termination of membership and admission of new members. They also managed to manipulate the replacement of PBC with PBF in the WB and the ABF. Reports say that this was done by falsely declaring that PBC changed its name to PBF.
It will be noted that as early as December 2015, Steve already attempted to change the name of the Bowling NSA during the Women’s World Bowling Championships in Abu Dhabi, UAE when he used the federation name “Philippine Bowling Federation (PBF)”, instead of Philippine Bowling Congress (PBC).
During the POC elections on November 25, 2016, PBF was included in the list of voters prepared by Steve himself, but was not allowed to vote because the POC Election Commission upheld the formal protest of PBC.
After the POC re-election on February 23, 2018, PBC filed a Petition to Restore before the Membership Commission chaired by Mr. Robert Bachmann. After conducting at least two (2) very informal hearings without any minutes of meeting being taken, Bachmann failed to come up with a formal resolution despite PBC’s Motion to Resolve Petition dated November 28, 2018. Bachmann’s position is that PBC lost its POC membership when its corporate life expired in 2000. This stance is seriously flawed because the old and new POC By-laws do not require NSAs to be SEC-registered and do not specifically provide that the “expiration of corporate term” of an actively operating NSA is a ground for the cessation of its POC membership. Clearly, this was a flimsy excuse to disqualify the PBC.
During the POC General Assembly meeting on September 27, 2018, the POC Executive Board recommended the expulsion of PBC. This is a clear admission that it had not yet been validly removed when PBF assumed its NSA role and status as early as October 1, 2016 or for almost two (2) years. Assuming that PBC’s expulsion was approved by a three-fourths (3/4) vote of the POC General Assembly at that time, the same is void ab initio because the PBC was not given due process (i.e. due notice and hearing) in accordance with the POC By-laws.
The illegal ouster and substitution of PBC is a clear example of how sports can be manipulated at higher level by people who would like to perpetuate themselves in power. They care less about the athletes, but are focused more on keeping their own small circle of followers who can vote them back into power. These puppets will lead the NSAs, even if their ability to manage the sport is suspect. We can see that in the number of non-performing NSAs under the POC. We can see that in the way Philippine Sports nosedived during the dark ages of Peping.
Numerically, PBC had 20 vibrant Affiliated Local Bowling Associations (ALBAs) before its disenfranchisement. Many bowlers and ALBAs were disheartened by the leadership conflict created, resulting in the loss of many promising players and coaches. Today, PBC remains active, with 14 of these ALBAs still persisting to play under the PBC despite the persecution. Only a handful have left the fold to join the PBF. To date, PBC maintains more active bowlers than PBF despite the mischievous maneuver.
Morally, it will also be stressed that PBC welcomes PBF bowlers to play in their tournaments, unlike the PBF which maintains that only PBF bowlers are allowed to play in theirs. PBF has also mandated that no PBF player may play in PBC events, and that non-PBF players are not allowed to play in international WB-sanctioned games. This has caused great anguish among players. This is in gross violation of a basic tenet in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the right to play.
Competitively, records will attest that since the take-over of the PBF, Philippine Bowling has stagnated. PBF’s 1 bronze output for the 2017 SEA Games is by far the worst result our bowlers have had since Bowling became a part of the SEA Games calendar.
Legally, morally and competitively, the PBC deserves to be recognized as the rightful NSA for tenpin bowling. PBC needs to be reinstated soonest in the interest of Justice, Unity and Peace in Philippine Sports.
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