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Karatekas cry foul on alleged misuse of PKF budget

The members and the coaches of the Philippine Karate Team and PSC Commissioner Mon Fernandez joined forces in seeking the truth on the how the PKF's budget was utilized. Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Seven karatekas led by Engene Dagohoy showed up on Wednesday during the weekly PSA Forum at the Tapa King Restaurant inside Farmer's Market to expose the corruption within the Philippine Karatedo Federation.

In their letter given to PKF's board of trustees, in which a copy was obtained by Dugout Philippines on Wednesday, they and some other fighters accused the federation's top officials, President Joey Romasanta and Secretary-General Raymund Reyes, "for cheating on us and have been using us to make money out of our hardships and sacrifices for the federation."

As per their claim as well, they first thought that the PSC's financial support on them was too small that they were forced to share their allowances during their overseas training only to find out in an expose of Commissioner Mon Fernandez that most of the money supposed to be for the athletes ended up in the pockets of Romasanta and Reyes.

The karatekas eventually had enough when they struggled financially in their European trip again last year and found out what really happened to the supposed budget.

Also, they also think their current trainers "are not qualified to teach and guide us."

However, Dagohoy revealed that they were happening since 2013.

On why they only spoke out after five years, Dagohoy told Dugout Philippines, "This is the perfect timing for us."

He further said that it would have been different if they chose to make the confession sooner.

"The administration before is different from now. Sobrang hirap as an athlete [na magsalita]. Mahal mo ang career mo. Pag nagsalita ka, alam mong madadali ka," the national team captain rued. "Walang from PSC na nagtatanong, 'Hey! What's going on with the federation?' Walang nagche-check. Walang malakas ang loob na magsalita against sa officials. Di kami binbisita [sa ULTRA (PhilSports Complex)] noon. Walang Mon Fernandez na nagsasalita on behalf of the athletes. Walang taga-tingin kung may maling nangyayari. Wala kang magagawa during those years."

He then bared that the eagerness of the Duterte administration to fight corruption in sports, with Chairman Butch Ramirez and Commissioner Fernandez leading the way for the PSC, prompted them to finally show up after years of silence.

"Mas may boses ang administrasyon ngayon," Dagohoy continued.

He later said that the other officials, headed by Vice President Alejandro Vasquez, and his fellow senior karatekas already threw their all-out support on them.

Then, after telling everything to the PSC, Dagohoy said that Fernandez quickly made an effort to help them in their case, which eventually prompted them to finally speak up.

"Si Sir Mon ang nag-initiate. That's the go-signal that: 'Hey! Let's go. Eto na yun,'" Dagohoy continued. "Nakita namin na kakampi namin siya."

For his part, Fernandez said that the aforementioned PKF officials are suspended while the investigation is ongoing and that they are not allowed to attend the karatekas' practices.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno