Ladies and Gentlemen,
We write to you to expose an injustice committed to one of the young players in the roster of the San Beda College Red Lions, Elvin Jake Pascual. Pascual was the 2006 NCAA Juniors Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awardee, playing for the Philippine Christian University Baby Dolphins. As you may know, PCU was suspended by the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) last year for various irregularities involving falsification of documents and identity switching among its athletes. Four players of the PCU Baby Dolphins were directly involved in these anomalies and have been banned from competition in the NCAA. Pascual moved to San Beda College. Subsequently, the NCAA recommended to San Beda not to include Pascual in its team last year because of certain concerns that were raised that may jeopardize the team. San Beda heeded this and as a sign of good faith, Pascual was not included in the Red Lions? campaign in Season 83.
On June 5, 2008, the NCAA Management Committee (ManCom) issued a ruling to exclude Pascual from the official Season 84 line-up of San Beda’s seniors basketball team for violating the NCAA rule prohibiting graduating high school students who are repeaters from participating in any competition in the NCAA. Also, his purported submission of falsified documents to the NCAA became a reason for the ManCom’s ruling. As of this writing, San Beda has brought this case on appeal before the NCAA Policy Board.
In 2004, Pascual was sixteen years old and a fourth year high school student of St. Rose Catholic School in Paniqui, Tarlac. His brother brought him to Manila and encouraged him to apply for a basketball scholarship with PCU. On his own volition, he personally came to PCU with the intent to join its seniors basketball team, as he was, at that time, a graduating high school student. He was advised by a certain Pedro “Bong” Sales, head coach of the PCU Baby Dolphins, to repeat his third year of high school to gain experience and be familiar with Manila basketball. According to his sworn statement, Pascual was then instructed to officially drop out from his fourth year high school studies in St. Rose Catholic School in Tarlac, and to bring with him his second year high school report card to officially enrol as a third year high school student at PCU. Mr. Sales facilitated Pascual?s enrolment in PCU High School, enabling him to serve a one-year
residency and play for a year with the Baby Dolphins. He succeeded in winning both the Rookie of the Year plum and Most Valuable Player honors in the Juniors Division that year.
From the antecedent facts, it may be inferred that there was no falsification involved in the case of Pascual as he submitted to Mr. Sales his authentic and genuine second year high school report card. Nor in any stage of this process did Pascual have any intent to repeat his third year of high school. There was no intent on his part to violate NCAA rules and regulations. As a minor who knew nothing about his chances to study in Manila, he was merely acting upon the advice of his future basketball coach. In fact, Mr. Sales, who was an athletics official in PCU, was in a position to know the regulations fairly well. The intent to falsify or undertake fraudulent acts must be imputed on Sales. For abusing the innocence and noble intent of Pascual, it is Sales who must be penalized and not the victim, who is Pascual.
The NCAA ManCom took as legal basis Rule 1.2.4 of the NCAA By-Laws to exclude Pascual from the Red Lions line up. It is the contention of San Beda that this rule, which provides that a GRADUATING HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT who is a REPEATER be deemed ineligible to compete in any NCAA tournament (emphasis mine), shall apply only to a current high school student and not to Pascual, who is now a bona fide graduate of PCU High School, and a bona fide student currently enrolled in twelve academic units in San Beda College. This is in faithful compliance with Rules 1.2 and 1.3 of the NCAA, which also concurrently apply to athletes in the Juniors and Seniors Divisions. Pascual’s status as a graduate of PCU High School and his eligibility to play in the Seniors Division was validated by Mr. Henry Atayde in an investigation he headed, one commissioned by the NCAA as well.
Finally, the NCAA ManCom used against Pascual the very facts that he declared to be the best of his knowledge in an affidavit he, together with San Beda College, voluntarily executed and submitted to the NCAA. This was initiated by San Beda to clarify any involvement he may have had with the PCU anomaly. With this affidavit, Pascual actually helped the NCAA gather more information leading to the responsible officials who directly took part in the fraudulent acts. Even in courts of law, an offender, who has collaborated with authorities through his testimony, is lawfully discharged from his case as a state witness. By banning Pascual on the basis of his own statements and readmitting his former Alma Mater PCU to play this season, the ManCom committed a blatant injustice by violating his right against self-incrimination.
We humbly seek your able assistance, hoping that this narration of facts merits the attention of our media, whether through print, broadcast or cyberspace, in fighting the injustice committed on the defenseless. Elvin Jake Pascual left his home in Paniqui, Tarlac, as a sixteen-year-old to secure an education with only his basketball prowess to offer. He took his chances, all knowing that his parents , his father, a tricycle driver and his mother, a simple housewife, were not financially equipped to give him this opportunity. With your help, it is hoped that the dream of this upcoming basketball star lives on.
Thank you for your valuable attention.