CHED won’t hesitate penalizing UST

- Ramon Rafael Bonilla

UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas (UST) could face stiff sanctions if ongoing investigat­ions show the school has a hand in the alleged unauthoriz­ed “training bubble” its men’s basketball team conducted in Sorsogon City.

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman Prospero de Vera III told a press briefing on Thursday that the commission wouldn’t think twice to penalize UST if indeed it knew of the “bubble” created by Growling Tigers Head Coach Aldin Ayo in his hometown.

“If it was sanctioned by the school [UST], the commission will punish the officials who are responsibl­e,” de Vera said. “But if the misconduct was done internally, then UST could make its decision on the matter.”

De Vera, along with representa­tives from the Philippine Sports Commission,

Department of Health and University Athletic Associatio­n of the Philippine­s and Games and Amusements Board Chairman Abraham Mitra opened its inquiry on the UST issue in an online meeting on Wednesday.

UST didn’t join the meeting but promised to submit the results of its investigat­ion to the UAAP on Thursday. The group will meet again on Tuesday to evaluate UST’S inquiry.

Besides the CHED, UST is also bound to be sanctioned by the UAAP.

“The UAAP is committed to protecting the health and safety of each of its studentath­letes,” the UAAP said in a statement.

De Vera said strict protocols are enforced since last March with all citizens told to simply stay at home.

“They shouldn’t be outside their homes. CHED issued an advisory last

March about that,” he said. “And it’s clear, the school should make sure the students are safe.”

PSC Chief of Staff Marc Velasco told Businessmi­rror that the result of the investigat­ion on the UST “bubble” would be elevated to the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Velasco said it would be up to the IATF if charges would be filed against UST or its men’s basketball team if they are proven guilty of breaching protocols.

Sorsogon City officials told the Businessmi­rror on Wednesday that they were unaware of the “bubble” and stressed that “it could have been Ayo’s own initiative to hold training in the city.”

Ayo is a former councilor of the city.

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