Statement of Jun Diokno, BSCP Spokesman

In its absurd demand to be handed the rights to select players for the Guinness Pool Tour, the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines (BMPAP) is showing yet again its total ignorance of law in our country and policy and tradition in international sports.

BMPAP cannot comprehend the fact that membership in the international sports fraternity is earned, not demanded. The Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines (BSCP) is and has been for some time the Philippine member of the Asian Pocket Billiards Union (APBU) and the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA), the world governing body for pool. As such, the BSCP has the authority, among others, to select players for the Guinness Pool Tour and other sanctioned international events.

After publicly severing ties with the BSCP and threatening an on-again-off-again boycott, the BMPAP in now crying to the media that their players have not been chosen for the Guinness Tour. And they have taken to denigrating the players who have been selected – players who just a month ago they publicly celebrated as great and now revile because these players won't support their manufactured players' revolt.

For the record, Marlon Manalo, Antonio Gabica and Jeffrey de Luna are topnotch pool players who have won honors for the country recently in the Asian Games, the Southeast Asian Games, and many international competitions. Gabica is the reigning 2007 Philippine National Open champion, De Luna won the Manny Pacquiao International Open last October, and Manalo was runner-up in the 2007 Philippine National Championship. They can play with anyone in the BMPAP roster anytime. They are at the top of their game today.

To enforce its objective of displacing the BSCP in the WPA network, it is now using the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) as a weapon, invoking a 1976 presidential decree issued at a time when sports was still segregated between amateurs and professionals. BMPAP spokesman Edwin Reyes is talking of police powers being used by the GAB to prevent Manalo, Gabica and De Luna from participating in the Guinness Tour on February 29.

This is unbelievably ignorant and crazy. We submit that it's time for GAB to stop its name from being used by the BMPAP. No reading of this already obsolete statute – in this era of open sports -- gives the board the authority to usurp the rights of our national sports associations to send representatives in foreign competition. Its powers stop at licensing Filipino professional players and promoters.

The impression being created that GAB is favoring the BMPAP to the exclusion of players belonging to other organizations, including the Philippine Billiards Development Foundation (PBDF) is unfortunate and dangerous. Ninety percent of our pro players are not members of BMPAP. The billiards foundation has members ten times more. GAB has a duty to look after the welfare of all Filipino professional pool players, not just of a handful. The sooner GAB chairman Eric Buhain corrects BMPAP's extravagant claims, the better.