I have been planted to Australian soil for a good three years now and yet never uprooted from the land of my birth. In these three years, I have been mesmerized by Down Under’s quiet but determined passion for excellence in just about every facet of life.
One thing I noticed quite prominently, they always speak with conviction.
Hence, Aussies speak often with the phrase “to be honest.” That’s how they are. If they don’t know what they talk about, they don’t pretend to be like an all-knowing blabbermouth.
In three years too, I have to be honest, I have yet to throw one of Australia’s iconic symbols–a boomerang. Nevertheless, I know what a boomerang is from a charlatan’s chatter.
On Tuesday, I posted on my Facebook account a reaction to a social media post by opposition stalwart and former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay. It was his reaction to the recent triumph of Filipino-born chess Super Grandmaster Wesley So after winning the World Fischer Random Chess Championship title against erstwhile world no. 1 Super GM Magnus Carlsen of Norway, the man referred to as the “Mozart of Chess.”
By insistence of some friends, I am plucking out the post from my social media page to this space.
I captioned this post: NOTE FOR PILO.
“So the supposedly intellectual Pilo Hilbay made underhanded insinuations that newly-crowned chess world champion Wesley So not carrying the Philippine flag is the tragedy that is PH sports, corrupted by politics. Pilo must have skipped fact-checking as part of his teaching method. For the record, Wesley switched federations from PH to US in 2014 after he was left with nothing by PH’s politics then led by a President named Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III (whom Pilo served as Solicitor General), and a Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) led by a Peping Cojuangco (Aquino’s uncle).
For reference, I suggest Pilo read this wonderful account of history by my good friend editor of SPIN.ph Eduardo Catacutan published on July 13, 2017, which reads in part:
“Yet there was no question about the disenchantment over the system that So bottled up inside for so long until it reached breaking point after one incident where, in his own words, he got caught in the middle of a feud among the ‘kings of the sports bodies.’
That happened back in 2013 after So’s gold medal from the World Universiade Games in Kazan, Russia had some quarters raising the possibility of a seven-figure incentive from the government. He got none.
In denying So a P1-million bonanza, the PSC explained the Universiade wasn’t among the international events where gold medalists are guaranteed monetary incentives from the government under the old RA No. 9644, otherwise known as the Athletes’ Incentives Act.
It didn’t help that So’s cause never received backing from the Philippine Olympic Committee, which, in the first place, refused to sanction the Universiade trip since the delegation was sent by a group whose members had previously clashed with the POC over the long-drawn basketball leadership row.
Amid the power play, So was left holding an empty bag.
“To be poor and unconnected in the Philippines is to be trash for rich people to step on,” So said.
“Because of a quarrel between the kings of the sports bodies, not only did the country refuse to acknowledge my efforts, they refused to give me the P1 million promised to athletes who bring home a gold medal.”
(End of post)
This post, originally under privacy limits, was shared publicly as some had requested to.
It’s not my business to be political in my posts. But where there is a need to correct an obviously twisted comment, I do not hesitate to let go of my horses too.
I am not sure if Pilo was talking thick or is simply stupid. Had he made a little bit of research of the journey of Wesley So, he would have met his boss along the way.
He must have ran away scared.
Like being in a horror house and suddenly finding yourself screaming in fright in front of a mirror.