Mr. Patrick Baumann
Dear Mr. Baumann,
Following the letter you sent dated February 20, 2009 vis-à-vis the ceasefire and apologetic gesture reached in Kuala Lumpur on January 19, 2009, including the offer of my reinstatement to the FIBA Youth Commission by Dr. Borislav Stankovic through FIBA Asia Secretary General Dato’ Yeoh Choo Hock, I now want you to focus your attention on the ongoing struggle in the BAP-SBP leadership.
I am happy to discuss with you the issues pertaining to the BAP-SBP court case. They are as follows:
1. Are we now being led to believe that any result of the judicial court case shall be recognized by the FIBA even if the Bangkok Agreement is violated?
Allow me to refresh you on one instance that happened in year 2001 regarding the leadership crisis that pitted the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) against the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC). For the record, the FIBA never recognized the court decision that favored the BAP, so much so it resulted in seven (7) elections during the period. Again recall another instance in year 2005 when you suspended the BAP. Our legal courts ruled in favor of the BAP at the time but the FIBA again did not recognize the decision.
Now in your letter to me today, you are trying to say that you will respect any decision by our legal court system. You are saying that only now when the BAP has been an original FIBA member since 1936.
Are you now saying that the court case will be the FIBA’s guide to any decision on the legitimacy of the BAP-SBP leadership, and not the Bangkok Agreement, of which the FIBA and FIBA Asia were signatories?
Again, if this is so, why then did the FIBA not give recognition to the Villafuerte-Pichay faction of the BAP-SBP when in October 2008 it won a court decision in a regional court in the Philippines regarding the illegitimacy of the Pangilinan group? Why not then, and only now? That leads me to wonder why you are changing tunes?
2. To give you a clear picture of the situation, the issues regarding the merger between the BAP and SBP have been distorted so often to make the FIBA secretariat and the general public (through its paid hacks in the corrupt sports media here) believe that they are in control, and nobody else, when the exact name of the new organization as approved in the Bangkok Agreement is “BAP-SBP.”
I am seeking clarification from you on this matter. The Pangilinan faction has been issuing statements, most of them unfounded, with the use of only the “SBP” – and not the BAP-SBP – as the name of the national basketball federation in the Philippines. However, the FIBA has not acted to correct this misrepresentation and has allowed the Pangilinan group to get away with this misrepresentation. Where is the name of the BAP? Again, it’s clearly stated in the Bangkok Agreement that the new organization shall be called “BAP-SBP.” Or are you now trying to say that the Bangkok Agreement, of which you were a signatory, will no longer be respected?
3. Remember that FIBA-Asia’s Dato’ Yoeh Choo Hock, Mr. Hagop Khajirian and legal counsel Mr. Gayrika Perusinghe have already informed me privately in Kuala Lumpur that the Bangkok Agreement was not followed and respected. May I ask what is your comment on this matter? For your information, FIBA Asia was also a signatory to the Bangkok Agreement and is bound to respect the document.
Likewise, during the drafting of the Bangkok Agreement, you said that the POC has nothing to do with the signing of the agreement and rest assured that the FIBA and FIBA Asia are solely responsible for the agreement and no interference from the POC would be entertained.
Yet the truth is, the BAP, an original FIBA member, is not getting any support from the FIBA.
4. Since as you say, you “understand and appreciate that this motion is now in front of our highest judicial appeal authority for resolution,” are you saying that the Bangkok Agreement will be set aside for the moment until our courts shall have decided one way or another who are the legitimate leaders of the BAP-SBP?
This is totally unacceptable. The case is expected to reach our Supreme Court and the matter may be up for its final resolution in a year or two. Do you mean to say, the FIBA will allow the Pangilinan to rule in the next months or so in total disregard of the BAP and the Bangkok Agreement?
What happens to the Bangkok Agreement, of which you were a signatory? If you were to say now that our problems are an internal matter, why then did you interfere in our affairs before and put the BAP in a bad light?
Principles are molded because of its consistent application. I now ask, where is your consistency regarding matters of principle, Mr. Baumann!
5. Lastly, it has come to our conclusion that the Bangkok Agreement is beyond FIBA initiative and beyond FIBA control, I think you only have to revisit the Bangkok Agreement. You are a lawyer and you are telling us you don’t even know that the Bangkok Agreement was being violated?
You even requested that I relinquish my position as BAP Secretary General for the merger to push through, and then return after the one-year transitory expires because we have the majority members recognized by FIBA and FIBA Asia.
Please clear this matter. For this apparently has not been the case after the transitory period had expired! Until now, the BAP has been left in the cold holding an empty bag.
Now, I will await the answers to my questions. Maybe you will seek legal assistance from the lawyer of the Pangilinan group so they might be able to answer them for you.
That’s unless you have decided to mend your ways and come up with decisions that are based on what is right, just and fair. It's really up to you. It’s obvious that the Pangilinan group has been acting with high-handedness because you have been tolerating it for reasons that you know. It’s crystal-clear that the Pangilinan group has violated – and continues to violate – the Bangkok Agreement and worse, even our constitutional rights have been trampled upon. And what has the merger brought us when one side does not even respect a legal document such as the Bangkok Agreement and signatories to the agreement like the FIBA do not even admonish or punish those violators.
The BAP was the faction that opened the lines for a compromised deal, but in the end, it was pushed out of the FIBA. And now you say, the FIBA will respect the decision of the Philippine courts. I ask, why only now? Why not state and do so when the BAP group led by Mr. Prospero Pichay and Mr. Luis Villafuerte went to court and our Regional Trial Court confirmed their rightful legal election held on June 4, 2008 after we had submitted all the pertinent documents to the FIBA?
What is good for the goose must also be good for the gander. That’s unless the FIBA is taking sides, and prefers to align, rightly or wrongly, with the moneyed side for obvious reasons.
Decency dictates that you communicate with us. But you chose to ignore us completely. And now you say, our courts must be respected, but that is only if it favors Pangilinan’s group?
Pangilinan’s henchman Noli Eala, who was dismissed by our Supreme Court as a lawyer for an immoral act, has been openly running in our federation affairs. Eala and Pangilinan have been advising you that their faction will win the court case because of their strong connections with some court officials, a declaration that shamelessly boasts in public.
On the subject of Eala, it was agreed upon during drafting of the Bangkok Agreement that he must have no position in the BAP-SBP merger.
What made you to change your mind on Eala’s case, Mr. Baumann?
Please be cautious of the lies the two have been peddling to make you believe them as gospel truth. We know they have the right connection, but we continue to ask you to make a clear stand on moral grounds.
Let us be honest, Mr. Baumann. I want to work with you in an honest and honorable way. Let us be frank with each other, and as you said “As a consequence we will refrain from starting legal action.”
Surprisingly, you denied such a move was planned during our one-on-one meeting in Kuala Lumpur even if I got this information from a reliable source that you had consulted Eala and Pangilinan about the matter.
Please stop playing games. That is if you want to work harmoniously with other people based on honesty and credibility. It saddens many that you have been working with people of questionable integrity, such as Eala. In Eala’s case, it is not merely a personal assessment of his immoral character, for even our courts say so.
Eala was disbarred as a lawyer yet who are still working with him on a marketing plan. Wake up, Mr. Baumann!
Act now and save the FIBA. Respect the Bangkok Agreement. Even a blind lawyer knows the Bangkok Agreement has been violated and disrespected. For the record, FIBA Asia has also reached its conclusion that the Bangkok Agreement truly has been violated.
I may feel that you are just giving us the run-around. However, I am a Christian, and I am still giving you another opportunity to rectify the mistakes you have committed not only to the BAP but also to the FIBA.
Remember FIBA Asia has already stated its conclusion that the Pangilinan group has violated the contents of the Bangkok Agreement.
“Justice can only be served if the Bangkok Agreement is followed and respected.”
Hope to hear from you soon.
Graham C. Lim
Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP)
cc. FIBA Asia/ FIBA Central Board Members/ Dr. Carl Menky Ching
Dr. Borislav Stankovic/ Dato’ Yeoh Choo Hock.