PBA  TO  APPEAL  RULING:   COURT   ORDERS  ASI  REINSTATED

MANILA, January 28, 2005 
(STAR) By Nelson Beltran  -  Asi Taulava has gained a court injunction order for his reinstatement in the Philippine Basketball Association but league commissioner Noli Eala said they would file a motion for reconsideration that would keep the Talk n Text player’s indefinite suspension in the league.

The Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City issued a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction order Wednesday, directing the PBA commissioner and other league officials to set aside or recall the league’s suspension order on Taulava.

Judge Rogelio Pizarro of Branch 222 of the Quezon City RTC ordered the PBA to allow Taulava to resume his exercise of his contractual rights, "including his right to play in the current PBA All-Filipino Conference and succeeding conferences" until further orders from the court or unless restrained by a higher judicial authority.

However, all indications say Taulava won’t easily get the nod of the PBA for a return stint in the league.

For one, the PBA commissioner intends to seek a reversion of the court ruling.

"In initial reading, we feel there’s a need to file a motion for reconsideration because the ruling is replete with legal errors and it is clearly unclear as to the basis of the order," said Eala.

"It’s strange to me. It comes as a surprise considering the same court denied two motions of Asi Taulava," Eala added.

Eala said the PBA board of governors is convening in a special meeting this morning to study the matter thoroughly.

However, a number of governors seem bent to deny Taulava reinstatement, saying the QC RTC didn’t reverse the findings that the Talk n Text player is a "Fil-sham."

Atty. Eduardo Francisco, Taulava’s lawyer, said the court took cognizance of their amended petition because of "supervening events" that took place from the time the court turned down two earlier petitions by Taulava for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the PBA’s suspension order and the time that they filed their amended petition.

Francisco identified one of the supervening events as the Jan. 6, 2005 ruling of the RTC of Manila that stopped the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) from stripping Taulava of his Filipino citizenship.

According to Francisco, Taulava’s suspension by the PBA violated his constitutional rights to due process and his contractual rights with Talk n Text since the suspension was anchored on a mere DOJ resolution that questioned Taulava’s citizenship.

Francisco said that the Manila RTC ruling made it clear that the DOJ ruling was nothing more than an accusation that has yet to be proven in court, and that Taulava remains a Filipino until proven otherwise in court.

With the DOJ resolution rendered without a legal leg to stand on, the PBA cannot continue using the same resolution to suspend Taulava, Francisco added.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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