LA SALLE SCANDAL
Wrong La Salle Scandal. I'm not talking about the one being peddled as a VCD or DVD (Although, I would like a new copy. My brother lost mine). I'm speaking of the story that has been hogging the headlines of the different sports sections of the daily newspapers.
For those of you who aren't in the know, this La Salle scandal involves two of their players who were found to have faked their high school certification tests. Meaning, they weren't able to graduate high school from any insitution and had to take an eligibility exam instead so that they could enroll in college.
A few weeks ago, after FEU took home the UAAP basketball crown, La Salle issued a statement that they had uncovered that one of their players had submitted spurious documents upon entry. What followed were announcements of an internal probe as well as a whole slew of whitewash press releases - notably from prominent "journalist" and La Salle alum Quinito Henson.
If you ever read Mr. Henson's diatribes in the Philippine Star, they were merely echoes of what La Salle spokespeople were mouthing off to the press. What's more, they were mostly one-sided, not really delving into the issue and constantly trumpeting praise for La Salle's search for truth all the while distancing the school from any involvement in the scandal. Mr.Henson conveniently failed to mention that La Salle got word of the false papers as early as September and only started to give it attention when the UAAP season was over. He sang daily praises for la Salle offering to forfeit their games and return their 2004 championship, and wouldn't talk about repercussions like a possible one-year ban imposed on La Salle, similar to what was handed down to Adamson in the 90s.
The STAR's editors must have caught on and the La Salle-centric stories were being handled instead by other writers like Abac Cordero, who presented both sides and weren't afraid to include insinuations of the University's involvement. Now, La Salle has concluded their investigation and concluded that two players indeed cheated (Mark Benitez and Tim Gatchalian) and two officials had a hand in the matter.
I'd applaud La Salle, if only the officials involved weren't "expendable" ones. Found guilty were Manny Salgado, who was recently banned from the UAAP and another person who served as the team's scorer - who by the way, was a contractual worker. No one in La Salle's higher-ups was supposedly involved. No one else in the alumni. No one on the coaching staff. Their scapegoats were two officials you couldn't really care less about - or would really have the power to do what they did.
In hindsight, I was wondering when the whistle was gonna be blown on La Salle. I mean, the school is well known for its breed of students and here was a basketball team where the players either looked like they were part of F4, a street gang in the U.S. or mga kargador sa pier. Something smelled fishy and it wasn't Carlo Sharma's underarm.
Now, the UAAP is going to do their own probe. Not just on La Salle but on all member schools. Supposedly, other schools with players with fake documents are UE and Adamson. I know that many alumni feel that they should win at all costs.
What cost victory indeed?