BAP Went to Wrong Court; Elizalde Says Court of Arbitration Is Proper Venue

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Byline: nick giongco

FRANK ELIZALDE, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) representative to the Philippines, yesterday blamed the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) for the raging controversy that besets the countryas amateur basketball as he made it clear that the sport will certainly not be held during the 23rd Southeast Asian Games beginning this weekend.

The BAP, he said, went to a wrong court.

"They (BAP) should have gone to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) months ago and not to the civil court," Elizalde said when asked about the BAPas move last Monday for a Manila court to cite the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) for contempt of court.

"Impossible," was the curt reply of Elizalde when asked about the chances of basketball being played.

"These people are ignoring the policies of sports jurisdiction," Elizalde said in response to BAP president and former Sen. Joey Linaas latest challenge that Elizalde act as go-between involving the POC and the BAP.

Lina said there is still time for the case to be settled and even the temporary reinstatement of the BAP will result in the FIBA lifting its suspension of the Philippines.

"The fact remains that this is dangerously close to being a violation of the IOC charter. This is not keeping with the tenets of the Olympic charter. This is a major mistake (on the part of the BAP)," said Elizalde.

The CAS is an institution independent of any sports organization which provides for services in order to facilitate the settlement of sports-related disputes through arbitration or mediation by means of procedural rules adapted to the specific needs of the sports world.

Founded in 1984, the CAS is based in Lausanne, Switzerland, and has two satellite offices in Sydney, Australia, and New York City.

Normally, it takes six to 12 months before a decision is reached by the CAS, which has 300 arbitrators from 87 countries.

Last week, a Manila court ordered the POC to reinstate the BAP and the ruling, according to Lina, was "immediately executory."

Although the Manila Regional Trial Court (MRTC) decided favorably for the BAP, the POC readily claimed the move could court possible sanction from no less than the IOC itself, a view also shared by Elizalde.

"Now, we find ourselves in this situation that the IOC may suspend the POC since the fact remains that weare dangerously close to violating the OIC charter," said Elizalde, in obvious reference to the court decision on the basketball issue here.

The matter had already been advised by Elizalde to the IOC, although it would not be until after the SEA Games that heall make a complete report about the controversy. …