MANILA, Philippines — The UAAP board on Friday said that swimmer Mikee Bartolome still needs to serve a year of residency even after she has secured a court injuction against the two-year residency rule.
The league insisted that it remains respectful of the court’s granting of the temporary restraining order, but has no recourse “but to heed and revert to the previous rule which has been imposed for decades.”
“The court order was specific on the “two-year” rule which was imposed only this Season 76, and not on the previously accepted “one-year” rule,” the board also said.
The old rule requires a freshman student-athlete who transfers from one UAAP school to another to complete one year of residency.
Bartolome, though, was able to suit up for the Maroons in the first day of the ongoing UAAP season 76 swimming competitions at Trace College in Los Baños, Laguna.
But the father of the 17-year-old tanker said that only the swimming director and commissioner gave the green light for fear of contempt amid the instruction of the UAAP board not to let Mikee compete.
“Ayaw syang payagan, pero syempre natatakot yung director ng swimming at commissioner kasi nag-consult sila sa laywer. Ang sabi sa kanila, pag di nyo pinayagan, kasama kayo mako-contempt (They won’t let her compete, but the swimming director and commissioner got scared after consulting a lawyer who told them they might face contempt),” Vic Bartolome said in a phone call.
The league, meanwhile, said that Mikee, “like all other freshman transferees before her, must undergo the one-year residency before she could swim for UP.”
This confusion even sparked an alleged boycott among other schools as they refused to swim in the selected events in the women’s joust that Bartolome is competing in.
In the women’s 4×50 medley relay, only UP and Ateneo were left to dispute the medals with the Maroons eventually bagging gold with Bartolome’s help.
The UAAP board, though, said that it did not order such boycott and deemed the moved as the “schools’ decision, perhaps as a sign of personal indignation or protest.”
Senator Pia Cayetano, a staunch critic of the two-year residency rule and supporter of the Bartolomes in their legal battle, slammed the reported boycott.
“I condemn the boycott instigated by certain school officials at the UAAP swimming competitions in support of the UAAP Board’s brazen refusal to abide by the court rulings affirming Mikee Bartolome’s right to swim in the school of her choice,” she said a statement.