NBI  HELP  SOUGHT  IN  PROBE  OF  BOXER'S  DEATH

MANILA, APRIL 5, 2007
(STAR) By Marvin Sy and Dante Navarro - The Games and Amusement Board yesterday sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation in its probe of the death of Lito Sisnorio in an effort to determine and pin down those involved in the ring tragedy.

At the same time, President Arroyo ordered the GAB to provide cash assistance to the family of the ill-fated fighter, who died of brain hemorrhage after suffering a fourth round knockout against Thai champion Chatchai Sasakul in Thailand last Friday night.

In a special meeting, the GAB board approved a financial assistance of P100,000 to the family of Sisnorio to be deducted from the GAB’s Boxers Welfare Fund.

Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao will also donate substantial amount, according to confidant Wakee Salud.

GAB chair Eric Buhain said an investigation is now being conducted to determine who should be held responsible for bringing in Sisnorio, a Koronadal native who moved to Kidapawan, to Thailand to fight despite the absence of a GAB license.

"There’s no sense of blaming the fellow who died already when it is the promoters and managers who should be held accountable," Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said.

Ermita said he has received a report from Buhain which included the immediate implementation of a "no-fight policy" for Filipino boxers in Thailand in the aftermath of the incident.

On Wednesday, the President gave North Cotabato Gov. Manny Piñol the go-signal to leave for Bangkok and arrange for the immediate return of Sisnorio’s remains back home and at the same time unravel the circumstances that led to the ring death.

Piñol also said he will personally initiate an investigation to bring the unscrupulous fight brokers to justice.

GAB commissioner Angel Bautista and chief of boxing division, Dr. Nasser Cruz also flew to Thailand yesterday to meet and discuss with the Ambassador to Thailand, Antonio Rodriguez; officials of the Thai Boxing Commission and other boxing bodies in Thailand as well as the promoter of the said fight.

Cruz said he had received messages of support from other countries, unhappy with the conduct of Thai promoters and called for the kingdom to sign a formal agreement to ensure prior approval is sought.

Boxing experts say a local boxing syndicate has long been conniving with Thai matchmakers in choosing to import inferior opposition for blood-thirsty local fans to enjoy a massacre by a hometown fighter.

In his report to Ermita, Buhain said the GAB’s legal division is already investigating the incident to determine who should be held accountable for the violations committed by Sisnorio’s camp which indirectly resulted to the boxer’s death.

According to Buhain, the violation was that Sisnorio fought without first securing the regulatory body’s approval. Sisnorio’s GAB license expired last Dec. 31 and was never renewed.

Ermita also noted that an urgent appeal has already been issued for all licensed boxing managers and promoters not to place the lives of their boxers in great risk by violating the policies set by the GAB.

Last year, a total of 11 boxers were suspended for violating the policies set by the GAB, according to Ermita, while four boxers with their managers and coaches have been sacked this year.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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