Did the Azkals bite off more than they could chew?

It was more than two (2) weeks ago that a report came out that Cristy Ramos filed a sexual harassment case against two members of the Philippine Azkals team, Angel Guirado, and Lexton Moy. Read the story here.

It just also happened that a lawyer relative of mine and I were listening to 92.3 when we first heard this. This is where we heard the “must be a B-cup”, the “brief encounter” thing and all.

According to my relative, the treatment that Ms. Ramos received may be harassment of sexual nature, but it does not constitute sexual harassment. The definition of sexual harassment under Philippine law is defined here.

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“Work, education or training-related sexual harassment is committed by an employer, employee, manager, supervisor, agent of the employer, teacher, instructor, professor, coach, trainor, or any other person who, having authority, influence or moral ascendancy over another in a work or training or education environment, demands, requests or otherwise requires any sexual favor from the other, regardless of whether the demand, request or requirement for submission is accepted by the object of said Act.

Unfortunately, since Cristy Ramos did not mention any sexual favor, she may not have a case for sexual harassment. I further asked my lawyer relative what could possibly happen. She may get the two players for gross misconduct and disrespecting a sports official, but sexual harassment may be difficult.

Does this mean that the Azkals can go scot-free? Definitely not. What were those two players thinking doing what they did? They happened to cross, of all people, the daughter of a former President of the Philippines. While Ms. Ramos’ complaint is still under investigation, we must rely solely on her account of things against the account of the Azkals players present in that locker room.

As I commented in one of my previous articles, in any organization, or institution, whatever its members do within its confines reflects upon it. However, once you are part of any institution or organization, you carry their name on you wherever you go, and you have to protect its dignity at all times. These are inescapable realities of life. The Azkals, as a national sports club, is no different, or shouldn’t be, for that matter.

Given that rape victims, much less female recipients of harassment, are often discouraged from speaking out in Filipino culture, I find it highly unlikely that Ms. Ramos fabricated her story. There is simply no motive for her to do so. Why bother pinning a case on the Azkals if they’ve done nothing to cross you? For that, I say Ms. Ramos has balls to go up against them.

Even former first lady Ming Ramos herself said that perhaps they should change their name to Askals, which is short for asong kalye, which in English, roughly translates to stray dog. They certainly acted like two dumb mutts, though.

Arnold Clavio, in a tweet, said something along the line of “…the Azkals are not even kayumanggi”. I don’t presume to know what he was thinking when he said that. The Azkals may not be pure Filipino, but those two players embroiled in this incident just displayed a very Filipino trait: macho impunity.

Events like this should be triggers for us Filipinos to think twice about the type of people we “idolize” and hold in high regard. Are you going to still honestly be able to say “proud to be Filipino” every time the Azkals score a goal? Can you stand the fact that everytime you hear the Azkals’ name mentioned, you will think “nambabastos ng babae” to go along with it? Do you want to hear Filipino athletes associated with “no respect for sports officials, especially women”? I don’t think so.

In that same radio program on 92.3, the male host said something along this line: sports heroes can be forgiven for incidents like this, as long as they keep winning. I beg to differ, and I’m sure many of the readers will, too. Now that the Azkals have been eliminated by Turkmenistan 2-1 in their most recent game, they’ve got to face the music regarding the charges brought against them.

9 Replies to “Did the Azkals bite off more than they could chew?”

  1. I am a supporter of the Philippine National Men’s Football Team even before they were successful (well, relatively successful), and even before they were known as the Azkals — which is to say we were only concerned about the football then as opposed to people being concerned about the whole “packaging and branding” thing now. Now that we got that out of the way here are my two cents on the case. Sexual harassment or not, IF they are found guilty then they should be censured no question about that. The fans, of all people, should be the ones who hold the players with high regard and subject them to the highest standard of behavior seeing as they represent the country which is bigger than the sum of all the individual players combined. That would be a big IF though because as of this writing the players concerned have not given their side yet. To prejudge them based solely on the complainant’s statements would be unfair. A daughter of a former president does not have the monopoly of truth and to assume that she is telling the truth just because she is what she is would be a huge leap, don’t you think? Besides whatever her motive for filing that complaint she only knows and we can only presume.

    p.s. They are indeed named after the mongrel dog. It is spelled with a Z in reference to Calle Azul (the Philippine Team’s “home” color is blue.

    p.p.s. I would love to hear this blog’s take on Arnold Clavio’s statements regarding the nationality of the players in the national team. Such statements said with racial/bigoted undertones doesn’t sit well with a lot of people especially coming from a relatively successful journalist/anchor in the present culture of racial/color tolerance.

    Thanks and More Power GRP!

    1. Sebi,

      Actually I completely forgot that the Azkals have one more game for 3rd place. Good for them that they won!

      I completely agree with you. It is presumptuous to prejudge the two players as guilty. My bad for not delineating that here. I’m sure anyone watching this closely is eagerly waiting for the two players to give their side. Now that their last game has been played out, they’ve really got no choice but to clarify things.

      I would have liked to comment more on Arnold Clavio’s statement. As I said, I can’t presume to know what he was thinking. No amount of looking at just the message will justify what he did. I think he should have exercised more restraint as a member of a media group and all.

      The challenge to even the most-die hard fans is this: Whatever the findings of the investigation, can you ever look at your sports heroes the same way again? Can you ever disassociate from the team the stigma that comes with even just being associated with harassment against women, regardless of the truth of the charges?

      1. FallenAngel,

        I would have to say yes but I can, obviously, just speak for myself. The way I see it is Football > Team/Club > Players. Most die-hard fans support their teams regardless of which players come and go. That is not to say that there aren’t any fans who are drawn to this team because of the players (we do have fanboys/fangirls everywhere like any other sport and, for the record, they are very much welcome). Neither am I saying that just because we support a team and not a particular player then we should just sweep the issue under the rug, slink off, and hope the issue dies a natural death. Sexual harassment is a very serious issue and, like I said, we should hold the players who represent us in the highest standard of behavior. The prudent thing to do would be to wait until the investigation is finished (hear the “other side” that is), make a conclusion, and accept the consequences. The team will be there no matter what happens and no matter who plays so, yes, we will still be there rooting for them and cheering them on, stigmatized or otherwise. It helps that football culture in the Philippines is kind of an “underground” one so most of the die-hard fans know how it is to be marginalized (hahaha). At any rate I think it would speak well of the team, it’s management, the whole organization, and its fans if we can let the investigation take its course and accept whatever findings they have in the end. Thank you.

        p.s. Would you guys go easy on me if i admitted i am a huge fan of GRP? Kidding! Oh but the huge fan part is true though 🙂

        p.p.s. Kudos to the Team for winning third place. It’s been 78 loooong years since we last had a podium finish in football. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

  2. Leave it to the Flip meeja to make a Brown Pride issue out of a machismo trip. Same Flip meeja that wouldn’t mind tabloids sporting full-view mestiza nipple shots sold in public, right along where schoolchildren pass.

  3. After reading the story, In my opinion, I believe ms Ramos unknowingly put herself in a position where guys will definitely be guys.The fact that one of the players allegedly “did not try to cover his underwear” is not unusual in a men’s locker room, they are in an area where they are expected to be naked. The Azkals thought it would be funny to harrass her seeing that it is unusual that females come into a men’s locker room where guys walk around butt nekked. There might have been an assumption among the guys that she was another groupie reporter.

  4. My ideas:

    Walking around, naked, in a locker room is ok. Even with 5 mins courtesy time given to them by Ms Ramos, it would still normal for a guy to walk around in briefs. I think her shock or some of her body language was what made the players laugh. Disrespect, but not sexual harassment.

    As for the B-Cup thing, it may pass off as sexual harassment case since what you’ve mentioned is Philippine law, and she passed the complaint to the AFC, not to a Philippine Court. (I’m not aware of the rules the AFC has regarding this and I’m too lazy to google it now). Also, they’ve basically admitted this with the lame D-cup excuse that was part of Mr Clavio’s rant.

    As for Ms Ramos, she had been doing her job, and in this case, doing things over and above requirements worked against her. I think after her experience, filing a complaint to the AFC is the correct thing to do. However, having more than one interview with the media is a mistake, it took eevryone away from the main issue

  5. So, the truth is…si Juani Guirado ang naka brief at hindi si Angel Guirado. Medyo na confuse lang siguro si Ramos. Alam ko yung kwento…connected kasi ako sa isang Euro based na Azkal Players…hindi naman kami close, but his parents and I were hanging out. Assuming lang talaga c ramos….at saka yung sa cup B thing? tama ung investigation ni Palami..nagsimula sa kay Denis Wolf. Long time private joke na talaga eto nang mga azkals sa kay carlie de murga tungkol sa chest niya. At hindi ko pwede masabi dito kasi very sensitive…Basta if ever na lumabas yung katotohanan at magsalita talaga ang azkal…maraming tao ang ma involve…at kung na pansin nyo…tahimik na si ramos…na realize na siguro niya na mali siya at assuming pa…praning! paranoid! at kung anu pa!

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