SENATOR Pia Cayetano has appealed to the UAAP board to review the new two-year residency rule on high school transferees, saying a move that aimed to protect the school's rights on a few blue-chip recruits ended up curtailing the rights of all athletes wishing to play college ball.
“Sadly, this is a repercussion of a few basketball players na pinag-aagawan ng mga universities,” said Cayetano on Monday at the end of a Senate hearing on the issue.
“They came up with a decision that affect athletes that have nothing to do with the issue,” she said.
The UAAP board approved the new rule increasing the residency period of high school players transferring from one member school to another to two years, drawing criticism from athletes and fans alike.
UAAP officials led by president Nilo Ocampo attended the inquiry along with Jerry Pingoy, the father of Far Eastern University juniors star Jerie Pingoy whose bid to transfer to Ateneo in college has prompted league officials to make sweeping changes to the residency rules.
Cayetano said that she is recommending that the residency rules for high school graduates be removed while retaining the current one-year residency for college transferees be retained.
“I’m appealing to the board that they find a solution. In any responsible institution, you should make the rules but at the same time you should also break it if you find out later facts that showed that the rules are not the best for everyone,” said Cayetano after emerging from the three-hour Senate inquiry.
Among the UAAP officials who attended the hearing were secretary treasurer Junel Baculi of National University, Ricky Palou and Em Fernandez of Ateneo, incoming UAAP president Fr. Max Rendon of Adamson University, Professor Ronualdo Dizer of University of the Philippines, and legal counsel Rene Villa.
The UAAP had promised to take a second look at the contentious rule in its board meeting on April 16.
Cayetano said she is not confident that the rule will be repealed by the league, but expressed hope that the UAAP will keep an open mind on the issue.
“I’m not confident but I like to believe that the UAAP has done a great job in the last decade. I like to believe that they will continue to do so by keeping an open mind,” said Cayetano.
The hearing also heard the side of the elder Pingoy and former PBA referee Vic Bartolome, whose daughter — a promising swimmer — will also be affected by the new rule due to her transfer from University of Santo Tomas to University of the Philippines.
“I humbly request that you really look at this rule. Look at what we are doing to these children?” Cayetano told UAAP officials during the inquiry.
Resource person Fr. Tito Caluag, a Department of Education consultant and a former supporter of the Ateneo basketball team, expressed concern over the current “overprofessionalism” and “overrecruitment” of high school athletes.