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Ban imports in UAAP, NCAA? Saguisag says Mikee Romero should explain why a bilyonaryo is party-list rep

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Former Senator Rene Saguisag is not cool with 1-Pacman party-list Rep. Mikee Romero’s move to stop college sports leagues from recruiting foreign players to give more spots for homegrown student-athletes.

Saguisag said if Romero wanted the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to ban imports from their teams, he should also ban them in the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association, a professional league), and from the national team (which taps naturalized imports), and extend the prohibition to cover coaches.

“No legal violation I can see, nor any compelling thwarted policy consideration to vindicate and uphold in banning aliens from our teams. In any competition, cream rises to the top. Mediocrity should not be cherished as a standard,” wrote Saguisag in his Manila Times column.

Aside from taking away opportunities for Filipinos, Romero said there was “no sense of affinity anymore between players and spectators and fans, as the audience is merely watching foreign imports dominate collegiate and university teams… this does not reflect well on us as a people.”

But Saguisag disagreed. “I think some of us have affinity with Stephen Curry and the Warriors. So? I’ll always be a Yankee fan and my late darling wife became a dual citizen, naturalized as a member of the Red Sox Nation (also a Celtics fan having spent two years in Boston College for her social work Master’s). Too bad we cannot do better in a society where mediocrity can go very far indeed,” Saguisag said.

Instead of harping on trivia matters, Saguisag said lawmakers should focus on more important issues. “What we need is a clear explanation why a billionaire is a party-list representative of a group named after another multi-tasking billionaire. We know the Supreme Court rulings on the point but its interpretation does nothing to mitigate the image that the law truly represents the biases of the ruling class,” he said.

“Representative Mikee’s being in Congress does nothing to validate that those less favored in life should be more favored in law, originally said by Harvard Law’s Thomas Reed Powell and popularized here by our beloved ultra-honest Ramon Magsaysay,” he added.

Saguisag’s son, abogado Rene ‘Rebo’ Saguisag Jr., is the commissioner and executive director of the UAAP.

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