This appears in the Monday, November 29, 2010 edition of the Business Mirror.
PFF Congress boots out Mari Martinez
PFF Congress boots out Mari Martinez
by rick olivares
The tumultuous and controversial three-year reign of Jose Mari Martinez at the top of the Philippine Football Federation is over as he was unanimously ousted in the PFF 7th Ordinary Congress held last Saturday November 27, 2010 at the Audio-Visual Room of the Philsports Complex in Pasig City.
Twenty-five presidents of the 29 present members football associations (out of the total 33) of the PFF voted to approve a resolution by the eight members of the Board of Governors recommending the removal and replacement of Martinez as president.
Mariano V. Araneta, current head of the Iloilo Football Association, was named interim president who will serve out the last year of Martinez’ four-year term. Araneta was also the chairman of the PFF’s Finance Committee who launched the probe into the federation’s finances.
Ismael Batiles of the Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental Football Association was named the Executive Vice President.
Martinez was accused and charged in court for the falsification of public documents when he had notarized a Secretary’s Certificate where one Henry Tsai was named a signatory to the PFF accounts in Banco de Oro and Bank of the Philippine Islands. The board unanimously claimed that there was no motion to include Tsai in the list of signatories.
Tsai, Martinez’ old officemate at Soriamont Steamship Agencies which is owned by Andres Soriano, was first named as “Managing Consultant” and later as “Executive Vice President.”
The audit by Campos, Campos & Co. showed that over PhP 5 million of PFF funds were entrusted by Martinez to Tsai with close to PhP 4 million unliquidated. There were also numerous entries in the accounting where Martinez was purported to use the funds to pay for personal usage such as groceries, medical and credit cards bills, as well as shares in the Valle Verde Country Club.
The PFF Congress also took him to task for misusing the Financial Assistance Plans annual subsidy from the Federation de International Football Association.
In his first year as president, Martinez survived an ouster move when Asian Football Confederation Mohammed Bin-Hammam made a guest appearance and announced a gift donation to the PFF of PhP10 million. Opponents of Martinez decried the move as a “bribe.” Several members then of the opposition bailed out at the last moment when key persons wavered in the move.
Last Saturday, there was no such break in the ranks. In fact, it was even bolstered by a change in heart of several BOG members who were perceived to be allies of Martinez.
Those who voted in favor of the resolution were Eric Pocon (Agusan del Sur), Richard Montayre (Cebu), Abenir Labja (Compostela Valley), Mariano Araneta (Iloilo), Arturo Pacificador Jr. (Laguna), Alex Macabangkit (Iligan Lanao del Norte), Cabili Sinsuat (Maguindanao-Cotabato City), Felix Rivera (Masbate), Ismael Batiles Jr. (Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental), Jug Jimenez (Misamis-Ozamiz), Juan Luis Carpio (Naga City-Camarines Sur), Jose Vito Borromeo (NCR), Mario Narola (Quezon), Dick Emperado (Negros Occidental), Mayor Joselito Piñol (North Cotabato), Ronald Patulin (Oriental Mindoro), Elipio Daypa (Quezon), Mario Garovillo (Rizal), Dave Araral (South Cotabato), Antonio Oculto (Sultan Kudarat), Mario Semorlan (Surigao del Norte), Glenn Caratativo (Tarlac), Antonio Buca (Zamboanga del Norte-Dipolog), and Flaviano Fucoy III (Zamboanga del Sur-Pagadian).
Renato Cosmod (Davao) and Jose Reneva (Camarines Norte) abstained from the voting while Leopoldo Arnaiz (Baguio) and Taghi Kashef (Legazpi-Albay) left without casting their votes.
“The decision has been made by a few,” noted Martinez who retreated to his old office at the PFF House of Football that was a few hundred meters from the Philsports Complex immediately after his removal. “I only worked for the best of football in this country but apparently, some people want my job because they are envious. Their move was unconstitutional. My lawyers will prepare a rebuttal and we will take this to the next level.”
Martinez conducted one last staff meeting at 8pm. As he closed out his meeting, he had one last pronouncement: “This is a sad day for Philippine football. But Mari Martinez will be back.”
Said Araneta of the whole affair, “There is such a thing as accountability. Obviously, there was none with the previous president.”
Araneta outlined some immediate concerns that the new administration of the PFF will put in effect. “First, we have to hire a lawyer to look into who is culpable in the missing funds and if we should file charges. Hopefully, we can recover them. Two, the BOG will meet every quarter to implement the programs that we want to put in place. We will get the chairman of each committee from the board so it is functioning. Third, we plan to revive the national tournaments maybe beginning with the Under-19. And fourth, we will look into the operations of the PFF and see how we can streamline the operations. Of course we will reach out to the AFC and to Mr. Hammam regarding the change in leadership and how this came about.”
Johnny Romualdez, Chairman Emeritus of the PFF and Martinez’ predecessor said that he expects Martinez to contest his ouster with the AFC and FIFA. “It might be bloody but what can we do? We have to do the right thing. This is to save football in our country.”