MON FIGHTS BACK

By: Izobelle T. Pulgo April 04,2017 - 10:30 PM
PSC commissioner Ramon Fernandez (seated, center) with his lawyer Jemil Christian Marquez (right) files libel charges against POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco at the office of assistant Cebu City prosecutor Ramon Carisma. (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

PSC commissioner Ramon Fernandez (seated, center) with his lawyer Jemil Christian Marquez (right) files libel charges against POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco at the office of assistant Cebu City prosecutor Ramon Carisma. (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

PSC commissioner Ramon Fernandez files P10M libel case versus Cojuangco

The Ramon Fernandez-Jose “Peping” Cojuangco saga took a turn for the worst yesterday after the former filed a P10 Million libel suit against the current head of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).

Assisted by his legal counsels Ramsey Quijano and Jemil Christian Marquez, Fernandez filed a complaint for libel or grave oral defamation before the office of City Prosecutor Ramon Carisma.

The charges stemmed from Cojuangco’s accusations that the former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) star throw away games during his stint in Asia’s first play-for-pay league.

“How can we entrust the national athletes to somebody who threw away games? He’s been saying that they’ll take over Philippine sports but he is a game-fixer,” Cojuangco was quoted as saying in a Manila Bulletin article which saw print on March 8, 2017.

“The defamatory statements against me, which he publicly made, maliciously imputing upon me of a crime by accusing me as someone who threw away games and calling me a “game-fixer. The said imputation against me in relation to my career as a professional player was malicious, serious and defamatory,” said Fernandez in his complaint.

Fernandez said Cojuangco’s allegations against him “not only caused dishonor to my person and illustrious career as a national athlete and professional basketball player but also and more specifically, to my government office as the Commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).”

Fernandez said that Cojuangco’s allegations “are so great and serious and it has subjected me to public ridicule.” With this, Fernandez is seeking P10,000,000 in moral damages, P50,000 in exemplary damages and P200,000 in attorney’s fees.

Bad blood

The feud between the two sports officials started when Fernandez started exposing POC’s alleged funds misuse.

Fernandez has openly criticized Cojuangco for his continued stay as president of POC. Cojuangco is on his fourth straight term as a POC president after running unopposed in last year’s election.

Fernandez said the filing of the case against Cojuangco is the only way for the POC president to answer the “real issues” about the alleged abuse and misuse of funds that was supposed to be for the athletes from 2010 to 2016.

Fernandez cited the Asian Games Centennial Celebration Festival in November of 2013 where the POC allegedly made several payments amounting to P23 million to hotels in Boracay even though the event did not push through after Super Typhoon Yolanda battered the country.

Fernandez said that when the event finally pushed through in January 2014, another P15 million was released, thus, increasing the total expenses for the event at P38 million.

“Is that a sports program for the athletes? Is it a mandate of the PSC to fund such events and parties? Wala akong makitang mandate ng PSC so dinala ko na sa COA (Commission on Audit) yan,” he said.

Though he decided to file the charges, Fernandez said he is open to settling the matter out of court.

“Like a true sportsman, if he wants to settle outside the court, we can always talk about it,” he said.

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TAGS: Cebu, Fernandez, Jemil Christian Marquez, Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, libel, Mon Fernandez, Philippine Basketball Association, Philippine Olympic Committee, Ramon Fernandez, Ramsey Quijano, sports

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