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SOURCES: UST stands by own Bicol bubble investigation despite appeal to UAAP

The University Athletic Association of the Philippines has acknowledged the University of Santo Tomas-endorsed appeal regarding Aldin Ayo’s indefinite banishment from the league.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, the league revealed that it has already received the school’s appeal.

“The University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) has received a letter from University of Santo Tomas endorsing the appeal of basketball coach Aldin Ayo.

“Ayo was handed an indefinite ban from participating in all UAAP events and UAAP-sanctioned activities by the UAAP Board of Trustees which ratified the recommendation of the UAAP Board of Managing Directors last month,” it read.

Last September 9, based on the recommendation of the Board of Managing Directors, the league’s Board of Trustees handed Ayo the heaviest sanction it can impose on an individual. This followed the investigation of UST, which concluded that the former Growling Tigers head coach broke several IATF protocols.

With UST going through the process, the league is now set to discuss the appeal in “due time.”

“This was based on the report that UST submitted regarding its investigation on the alleged training bubble in Sorsogon as well as the governing principles of the association,” it continued.

“The association will tackle the appeal in due time.”

League insiders bared to Tiebreaker Times that UST’S appeal stated that it did not acknowledge the investigation of the Sorsogon City Police, which absolved Ayo of any criminal liability. Instead, it stuck with its own conclusion that Ayo still broke quarantine protocols.

Instead, UST is appealing to lower the sanction imposed on Ayo by giving a definite timeframe to his “suspension.”

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“‘Yung appeal na nakita namin at na-forward na sa BOT, nakalagay dun na, ‘The school is still standing by their investigation.’ So, nasa isip lang namin is gusto lang nila bawasan ‘yung sanction kay Coach Ayo,” stated one of Tiebreaker Times’ sources, who requested anonymity.

Based on UST’s investigation, Ayo broke the following IATF protocols:

2. The movement of all persons in areas placed under GCQ shall be limited to accessing essential goods and services, and for work in the offices or industries permitted to operate hereunder. Provided, that movement for leisure purposes shall not be allowed.

3. Any person below twenty-one (21) years old, those who are sixty (60) years old and above, those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity, or other health risks, and pregnant women, including any person who resides with the aforementioned, shall be required to remain in their residences at all times, except when indispensable under the circumstances for obtaining essential goods and services or for work in permitted industries and offices.

From June 17 to July 29, 17 members of the Growling Tigers went from NCR to Sorsogon. NCR was under GCQ during that time, while Sorsogon was under MGCQ until June 30.

Eleven of the 17 players are below 21 years of age.

On the other hand, the PNP report — which was recognized by Sorsogon Governor Chiz Escudero — stated that the 17 Growling Tigers players who went to the province were there as “essential workers” as they worked in Ayo’s farm. This was not acknowledged by UST’s investigation despite this being in Ayo’s sworn testimony.

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According to the PNP report, the majority of the players had families “…that found it really hard to cope up with the [COVID-19] crisis and there were some dependent on their school allowances because their parents were not having their usual earnings due to the strict restrictions on work and mobility.” One member of the Growling Tigers even had to work as a part-time construction worker just to make ends meet.

And so Ayo, who owns vast farmland in Sorsogon, decided to bring in members of the team who wanted to stay with him and work on his farm.

The IATF Omnibus Guidelines state that, “The movements of all persons placed under GCQ shall be limited to accessing essential goods and services, and or for work in the offices or industries permitted to operate hereunder. Provided that movement for leisure purpose is not allowed.”

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