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Ex-POC exec admits Phisgoc payoff

Julius Manicad

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A former member of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) executive council admitted that they were paid by the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) in the buildup for the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

Reacting to the exclusive Daily Tribune report on Tuesday, Karen Tanchangco admitted that she was in the payroll of the embattled organizing body chaired by ousted Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.

[Related story: POC execs in Phisgoc payroll]

Caballero, who used to be the POC deputy secretary general, worked as assistant sports director for Phisgoc with a listed salary of P72,805 for the month of September 2018.

Her boss was Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, a top Cayetano ally in the Lower House who rose to become the POC president in a special election months before the biennial meet.

Tolentino had a salary of P81,344 as sports director in the payroll leaked to Daily Tribune by a former Phisgoc executive.

Also in the list were rowing president and former POC secretary general Patrick Gregorio, triathlon president Tom Carrasco, boxing secretary general and former POC communications director Ed Picson, judo president Dave Carter and surfing president Dr. Raul Canlas.

Gregorio was on top of the organizational chart as Phisgoc director general with a corresponding monthly salary of P127,601 while Carrasco was the deputy director general for operations (P114,201), Picson was the director for operations (P102,217), Carter was the venues director (P72,805), and Canlas was the medical and doping control director (P81,344).

The source, a Phisgoc official, said there had been some organizational changes as Gregorio stepped down shortly after Ricky Vargas resigned as POC chief and Phisgoc official, paving the way for Carrasco to assume his position.

Daily Tribune tried, but Carrasco and Tolentino refused to issue a statement.

Caballero, however, admitted her employment, saying that her “professional expertise” was the reason why Phisgoc hired her.

“My professional expertise in organizing sports events was the reason I was hired by Phisgoc,” Caballero said in a private message to Daily Tribune late Monday.

“There was no relation whatsoever to my duties and obligations in sepak takraw or in the POC.”

Caballero said she has a notarized contract as Phisgoc consultant.

“I have a notarized signed contract as consultant. (I am) not representing POC or my NSA,” she said, adding that they were not the only POC members in the Phisgoc payroll.

Prior to Caballero, POC director Cynthia Carrion admitted to have been in the payroll of Phisgoc.

She said she worked as manager of the ceremonies department so she deserves the P65,102 paid to her.

“Yes, I received money from Phisgoc,” Carrion said.

“But I think I am entitled to that amount because I was the manager for ceremonies. I worked hard for it. Actually, it wasn’t just me – a lot of POC members also got paid.”

 

Conflict of interest

A POC member in Charlie Ho of netball raised concern over Caballero’s admission.

He said receiving money from Phisgoc is a conflict of interest since the tripartite agreement forged with the POC, Phisgoc and the Philippine Sports Commission states that the Olympic council is the “oversight” of the organizing body.

Aside from that, the charter of the International Olympic Committee also states that: “members of the NOC (national Olympic committees), except professional sports administrators, shall not accept compensation or bonus of any kind in consideration for their services or for the performance of their duties.”

Ho explained that the POC and Phisgoc are two separate entities so Caballero, Carrion and other POC members in the payroll couldn’t serve both.

“We do not want a situation that there would be a conflict of interest. POC and Phisgoc are two separate entities,” said Ho, a lawyer.

“Now that we’re having problems, whose side will you take: Phisgoc or POC?”

Ho said when the country hosted the biennial meet in 2005, POC members didn’t receive a single centavo from the organizer – the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Philsoc).

In fact, they maintained their independence for the sake of check and balance.

“When we hosted the SEA Games in 2005, POC officials were not employees by Philsoc,” he said, adding that the government spent only P500 million for the biennial meet in 2005, way lower than the P6 billion budget in the previous Games.

“They didn’t get salary from Philsoc.”

 

Rampant payoff

Ho stressed that the Phisgoc payoff was so rampant that even the SEA Games executive committee chairman was also in its payroll.

Celso Dayrit, the former POC chief who was appointed as SEA Games executive committee chairman without the blessing of the local Olympic council, was also in the payroll as Phisgoc deputy director general with a salary of P114,210 for September 2018.

Although he is no longer a POC member, Ho said his inclusion in the payroll leaves a bad taste.

“Mr. Celso Dayrit was the chairman of the SEA Games Federation council, which is the franchisor of the Games, but he was drawing his salary from the organizing body,” Ho said.

He noted that the payroll was done in September 2018, which is just the preliminary stage of the SEA Games buildup.

“Their salaries reflected in the payroll of September 2018 were just small amount. It must have increased when fund started to come in,” he said without elaborating further.

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