This is my short story………… Graham C. Lim
Manila, Philippines -- On December 7, 2009, during the hearing of a criminal case I filed against a certain person by the name of Manuel V. Pangilinan. This was the man who, instead of acting as a mediator, pulled off a coup in claiming the presidency of the fledgling Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and kicking out the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) as the country’s national basketball federation. The BAP has been recognized by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) since 1936, a year in which the first BAP president, Senator Ambrosio Padilla, stood as Philippines’ team captain in the first Summer Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany.
The criminal case I filed against this person revolved around the SBP’s falsification of private documents that resulted in two sets of Minutes of Meeting on February 5, 2007, for the Unity Congress agreement of the BAP and the SBP that would name the BAP-SBP as the national governing body in basketball in the Philippines.
The agreement was approved by the FIBA, led by FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann, and witnessed by FIBA Asia President Sheikh Saud Ali Al-Thani of Qatar and FIBA Asia Secretary General Dato’ Yeoh Choo Hock of Malaysia.
The unification agreement, which was to be known as the Bangkok Agreement, was signed on February 4, 2007, a night before the “Unity Congress” was to be held (on February 5, 2007). Also putting their signatures on the Bangkok Agreement document were SBP President Manual V. Pangilinan and Pilipinas Basketball (PB) acting President Jose Capistrano on one side and BAP Executive Vice President Christian Tan and BAP legal counsel Bonifacio Alentajan on the other end.
Sadly, the Bangkok Agreement was never followed to the letter. Various violations were committed, and worse of all, the name of the merged organization was shamelessly changed to simply “SBP” even when the Bangkok Agreement called for the organization to be known as “BAP-SBP.”
Sadly, the FIBA did not also honor the Bangkok Agreement even when its secretary general, Patrick Baumann, was among the signatories to the document. Moreover, it was Baumann himself who initiated the supposed merger between the BAP and SBP. Undoubtedly the FIBA secretariat was tremendous pressure from the SBP to disregard the Bangkok Agreement for future marketing considerations.
Just as I stepped out of the hearing at the prosecution office in the afternoon of December 7, 2009, a Friday, I was instantly surrounded by men from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) under the Interpol Division. This would indicate that had been under surveillance by the International Police for some time.
Imagine, it was the Interpol that was tapped to arrest me, even when it was out of their jurisdiction since the real case against me had to do with deportation. As such, my case should have been handled by Bureau of Immigration (BI).
Instead my filthy-rich foe chose to pay off the Interpol bigwigs to arrest me, then connive with the BI to make sure I rot in jail and stay away from the local basketball scene.
Immediately, I was brought to NBI Office along Taft Avenue, Manila for the customary picture and finger taking. Subsequently, I was taken to the BI head office in the Intramuros Area for reason that I don’t really know until now.
I asked one BI officer why I was being arrested when the BI had not issued a warrant of arrest. Instead, it was the head of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the honourable Secretary Agnes Devanadera, who issued the arrest order through the NBI Interpol agency. Still I begged to ask this question: Why was the Interpol involved here when I was not an international terrorist wanted by the world authorities.
This is how this country has been run since the 1970s. If one is fighting for what is fair and just, he is treated like a criminal, a law violator. In contrast, the powerful and the rich can easily play around with the judicial system no matter what wrongdoings they done.
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. How sad is the state of affairs in our country.
Still and all, my imprisonment has not stopped me from pursuing my lonely battle against injustice, tyranny and persecution of innocent people by the powers-that-be, whether they are in big business or serving the government.
For in the end, I know that justice will prevail – maybe not now but certainly sooner than anyone else thinks.
One's honour is precious. It’s not for sale, even to the highest bidder.
In God's time, I knew that justice would be served and those who had a hand in my seven-month imprisonment at Bagong Bicutan Detention Center will eventually pay dearly for this transgression.
As they say, what comes around, goes around.
I never tried to seek vengeance for the suffering that my family and I had experienced from my opponents. I just leave everything to the incorruptible universal court of law known as karma.
The days of reckoning are just around the corner anyway.
Peace be with all of you!
GrAhAm C. LiM
Member, National Press Club of the Philippines
(NPC) since 1989