THE UAAP was dealt another court setback on Tuesday when the Quezon City Regional Trial Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on the league rule requiring a two-year residency for high school graduates transferring from one member school to another.
Judge Manuel Sta. Cruz of the Quezon City RTC Branch 226 issued the 20-day TRO on the motion filed by University of the Philippines' Anna Bartolome, a former University of Santo Tomas swimmer who wants to compete for the Maroons in the league’s swimming competition that starts September 19.
Sta. Cruz said he made the decision due to the “extreme urgency that grave injustice and irreparable injury" will be done to Bartolome if the swimmer is barred from joining the UP team since the submission of lineups for the swimming competition will be on September 4.
Vic Bartolome, Anna’s father who filed the case on her behalf since the swimmer is a minor, expressed happiness that she’ll be able to compete in the UAAP this season.
“Siyempre, as a father, masaya,” said the elder Bartolome. “Wala akong hinangad kung hindi makalaro ang aking anak.”
“Since four years old, nag-ko-compete na siya. I have to see her compete because she grew up that way and right niya ‘yun,” added the former PBA referee.
Reacting to the TRO, UAAP secretary treasurer Malou Isip said the league board will gather on Thursday in an emergency meeting to decide whether or not the younger Bartolome will be allowed to compete for the UP women's swimming team.
"The eligibility committee will meet on Thursday for the screening, we don't know yet kung naka-lineup siya sa UP," said Isip.
It is still unclear how the TRO will impact on other student-athletes in the league affected by the so-called 'Pingoy rule,' which the league implemented this season after former FEU juniors star Jerie Pingoy's decision to play college ball for Ateneo.
But Bartolome said his daughter will definitely be part of this year's ;ineup as the UP tankers bid for their fifth straight women's crown.
"Yes, definitely ila-lineup na siya kaya namin hinabol 'yung deadline. Nagpapasalamat din kami sa judge na naihabol ito," said Bartolome.
The Bartolomes took their case to the courts after failing to get a release from UST. The release clause is a requirement for a transferring high school graduate who wants to compete immeidately and not go through the two-year residency period.
However, Bartolome still faces the prospect of sitting out this year's competition since the old UAAP eligibility rule also calls for a one-year residency rule for transferring student-athletes.