Court affirms Moreno, Eala as BAP-SBP heads

By Tetch Torres

Manila, Philippines -- The Supreme Court has affirmed the 2008 elections of the BAP-Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, Inc. (BAP-SBP).

In its decision, the high court said Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar S. Moreno and former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner Jose Emmanuel M. Eala are the rightful Chair and Executive Director, respectively, of the merged BAP-Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, Inc. (BAP-SBP).

The high court denied the petition filed by Representative Luis R. Villafuerte and his group who had questioned election of Moreno and Eala, among others, for the term 2008-2012.

In a 13-page decision penned by Justice Consuelo Ynares-Santiago before she retired last October 5, agreed with the Court of Appeals (CA), which had reversed and set aside the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 24 decision.

The high court echoed the appeals court ruling saying the RTC erred in granting the petition for declaration of nullity of the Moreno and Eala election after it found that the BAP-SBP was still at its transition period at the time the opposing parties had convened their respective National Congress on June 12, 2008 and elected respondents Moreno and Eala.

After the merging of the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) and Pilipinas Basketbol into BAP-SBP following their Tokyo Communique, the ensuing three-man panel forged in Feb. 2007 a Memorandum of Agreement, also known as the Bangkok Agreement, which subsequently resulted in the nomination and proclamation as Chair of Rep. Luis R. Villafuerte, who led the petitioners in the High Court, Victorico P. Vargas as Vice-Chair, Manuel V. Pangilinan as President, Añonuevo as secretary, respondent Christian Tan as treasurer, and
Bonifacio Alentajan as legal counsel.

However, Pangilinan did not recognize Villafuerte?s election. Añonuevo subsequently called for a
National Congress on June 12, 2008 which resulted, among others, in the election of Moreno and Eala by 17 of the 19 active members of BAP-SBP.

The petitioners said the assailed elections were void since then members of the BAP-SBP were not entitled to vote and be voted upon based on the terms of, among others, the Bangkok Agreement.

But the high court said the appeals court correctly ruled that Clause 3 of the Bangkok Agreement merely intended to recognize the associations affiliated with BAP and PB as ?members? and that such recognition does not dispense with the need to classify said members in accordance with the provisions of BAP-SBP?s Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws.

It added that Villafuerte did not validly assume the post as chair because he did not qualify for the position.

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