Former Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Philip Ella Juico is at a loss as to allegations made by ex-fighter Onyok Velasco that the government still owes him P2.5 million as cash reward for taking the silver medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
“I don’t know what he is talking about,” said Juico, who was the PSC chairman from 1996 to 1998.
Juico, now head of the track and field association, was caught by surprise by Velasco’s claims in the light of the government’s rousing welcome being laid out for weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz.
Diaz returned in the country from Brazil after settling for the silver medal in the Rio Olympics.
Under the law, Diaz is set to get P5 million as stated in RA 10699, an off-shoot of the outdated RA 9064.
Juico insists that the 42-year-old Velasco’s cry for help in the midst of Diaz’s triumph doesn’t have any basis.
“We promptly gave him what was due him,” said Juico after conferring with members of his staff back then.
Juico said that Velasco got what the government promised him at that time.
“Imagine, he was the toast of the town and you give him what was told to be given to him,” said Juico.
RA 9064 was still not in effect at that time but it had a retroactive clause that assures Velasco of cash perks similar to what Diaz stands to receive.
When Velasco arrived from Atlanta, he was given a hero’s welcome and was awarded a house and lot and two cars from Nissan, a Sentra sedan and Terrano utility vehicle.
“I have seen him and bumped into him on several occasions but he didn’t say anything to me about it,” added Juico, noting that the last event he and Velasco were together was during a gathering of Olympians a week before Team Philippines flew to Rio.