The Commission on Higher Education has stepped in to help handle the ongoing Bicol bubble gate involving the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers.
After being left out of the first meeting between the Joint Administrative Order group and the University of Athletic Association of the Philippines last Monday, CHED, through the request of the league, was added to the second meeting last Wednesday.
The reason of CHED’s inclusion is fairly simple — all members of the UAAP are part of the tertiary education system. At the end of the day, they are still varsity teams — not professionals.
“‘Yung unang imbestigasyon ay doon sa athlete part, ang student part ngayon ay under na ng Commission.
“Ang usapan namin kahapon ay hihintayin ang official report ng UST at mag-meeting ulit sa isang linggo para tingnan kung anong report. Sa bahagi ng CHED, ang aming concern ay pag-violate nung IATF regulations dahil mga bata ito at age-group-wise, ‘di dapat sila lumalabas ng bahay at [nilalabag] ‘yung CHED advisories na inissue naming noong Marso,” said CHED Chairperson Prospero De Vera.
Based on the guidelines by CHED, no college student is allowed to participate in school activities outside of the study-from-home set-up. This includes organized training for varsity teams as well.
But last week, it emergedd that the Growling Tigers had allegedly been holding in a training camp in Sorsogon since June.
For CHED, if there is one party that is liable for all of this, it is UST itself.
“Ang gustong makita ng komisyon dito ay kung kaninong desisyon ba ito. Ang accountable officials, as far as CHED, is concerned ay ‘yung mga namumuno ng pamantasan.
“Kaya’t hihintayin naming ‘yung report ng UST at titingnan sa imbestigasyon ng UST at kung sino ba ang nag-authorize nito,” said De Vera.
Last Sunday, UST started its probe on the Bicol bubble. Moments later, Growling Tigers head coach Aldin Ayo released a statement, opting to stay mum regarding the matter.
Then Tuesday evening, UST’s IPEA director Fr. Jannel Abogado, OP stepped down from his post.
Still, there’s a process that needs to be followed before a verdict can be reached. That is why CHED is patiently waiting on the school’s findings.
“Ito ba ay sanctioned ng pamantasan? Ito ba ay ginawa ng opisyal ng pamantasan? Ito ba ay ginawa ng walang pahintulot ng pamantasan?” wondered De Vera.
“‘Yan ang mga unang kailangan tingnan. ‘Yung susunod na hakbang ay depende sa laman ng internal investigation ng UST.”