FOLLOW-UP: JOJO DUNCIL

I blogged about the Jojo Duncil controversy several weeks back after reading about it. Then, Inboundpass made a followup on this HERE, with an article entitled, A Tale of Two NSO Certificates. It sparked my interest, that I linked it to my previous post. But as I woke up this morning, I decided to post about it a little more.

The Inquirer in its issue today revealed that the UAAP Board is set to make a decision next week on several eligibility cases pending before it, including that of Jojo Duncil’s.

There is now a speculation that another incident of tampering and falsification of documents occurred in a major amateur league. Could it be a mere case of typographical error?

Inboundpass got hold of an official NSO copy of the birth certificate of a certain Joselito Duncil, which on its face, appears to be inconsistent with that birth certificate submitted to the UAAP for eligibility purposes. The former reflected a date of birth of January 13, 1982, the other, January 13, 1983. Based on the official NSO copy, if my computation serves me right, Duncil is now 25 years old, making him ineligible for Season 70.

Out of curiosity, I consulted a former official of the NSO for his comments on the issue. My first question was, which copy will prevail as to ascertain the true date of birth, in case of a discrepancy? His answer, the official NSO copy. (to us common folk, that would be the copy, printed on security paper, and that required when we apply for passports or visas in all embassies) He asserts that, whatever entries appearing on the said copy, will be controlling. This holds true especially as to facts of live birth of an individual, of which the birth certificate is considered to be conclusive proof. This fact has been enunciated as a doctrine by the Supreme Court. See Solinap vs. Locsin, G.R. No. 146737, decided on 10 December 2001, where the Court ruled that “A Certificate of Live Birth duly recorded in the Local Civil Registry, a copy of which is transmitted to the Civil Registry General pursuant to the Civil Registry Law, is prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated. However, if there are material discrepancies between them, the one entered in the Civil Registry General prevails.” Please read the full text here. Inboundpass also quoted several numbers, like 02728-CD-003CDC-02984-BI001, BReN 054A82AD04-1. This set of numbers is the electronic signature, which is considered a proof of authenticity of the document.

As to how and why this NSO copy was not the copy submitted to the UAAP is beyond my knowledge. It is quite intriguing though, that it is conveniently inconsistent with the other copy submitted to the UAAP. When Pido Jarencio, head coach of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers, was quoted to say that this issue was all hearsay, I wanted to believe him. Because if this allegation was true, I began thinking of scenarios that Duncil would find himself into. Aside from his ineligibility to play for UST in its title defense bid, it helps to know that a correction of the said entry to reconcile his date of birth, if it is indeed 1983, would require a court order. Duncil cannot even apply for a passport, or a visa for that matter, with that 1983 birth certificate. He has no choice but to adhere to the NSO copy.

In the meantime, everybody eagerly awaits the UAAP Board resolution. I hope though, that they resolve it fast. Good thing that they have to beat the deadline before the opening of the UAAP Men’s Basketball Season 70 on July 7.

It is saddening that these issues continue to plague amateur leagues. It’s beginning to sound like a broken record. It has caused the suspension of DLSU last year, and PCU in the NCAA this year. I am reminded that even the recent Palarong Pambansa was scandalized by similar issues. Teenagers supposedly in their high school years, posed as Grade 5, Grade 6 schoolers.

The reasons and motivations behind this recent UAAP scandal are immaterial. But a sincere and proactive effort to clean up amateur sports must begin here and now. These authorities have a responsibility to the supporters, to the schools and most especially, the athletes that the genuine spirit of competition is preserved.

This is no longer about UST’s title defense bid, or a school retaliating against another. It is the integrity of the league at stake. We all hope for a swift and justiciable solution.

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