LONDON--Jose Mari Martinez's two-year stint as president of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) is about to end after the PFF Board of Directors has forced him to take a leave of absence in running the country's football governing body.
This came after reports of arbitrary disbursements, extravagant expenses, missing funds and unauthorized obligations to third parties all done by Martinez, according to a national daily.
Iloilo Football Association president Mariano Araneta Jr., the newly-appointed PFF chairman of the finance committee, has ordered an audit on the PFF financial state to prove Martinez's wrong doing.
Funds which were given to the organization by the world's football governing body FIFA are missing.
Two Board members, Richard Montayre of Cebu and Dick Emperado of Negros Oriental, have also filed a case in court against Martinez for falsifying public documents in relation to designating a bank signatory.
For the longest period of PFF's existence, this is just the first that time the president of the Federation has been suspended.
This is also the first time that a president has been accused of mis-using the funds of the PFF.
According to the report of the national daily, PFF has received P16.8 million this year alone from Fifa. But the BOD was shocked when they found out that the PFF has only $203.08 in it's dollar account remaining.
The report stated that it appears that Martinez has helped himself with the PFF funds. He has withdrawn money to pay for his hospital bills, his credit card bills, medical insurance, cell phone bills, and membership payments for Valle Verde.
He has also made payments to G-World Services to produce a TV show and stage a fund-raising event that eventually lost money.
Former PFF president Johnny Romualdez never got a single cent as salary from the PFF and most of the time took only more or less P3,000 for his monthly expense. But when Martinez became president, he paid himself P25,000 a month.
PFF's monthly payroll has ballooned to P360,000 a month.
The association now has 18 employees at their newly constructed building in Makati. Most of those paid employees are doing nothing and are merely political appointees of Martinez.
The sins that Martinez have committed to the football community are too many that it would not fit in this column if I write them all.
If only the PFF is a public office, Martinez could have already been under the investigation and thrown at with tons of cases by the office of the ombudsman. But since the PFF is a private entity, then the cases slapped on him by the two BOD from Cebu and Negros Oriental will drag on.
If the ongoing audit would prove his guilt, the PFF BOD would file a case against him. Martinez, according to sources, has vowed to fight the cases and has refused to resign.
But he could not continue as PFF president as the BOD has the authority to get rid of him.
In fact, the BOD has already set its annual PFF congress in November to elect a new president. And when this comes, there will be fresh mandate and hopefully the PFF would be cleansed.
My only wish for the next president is to continue their cases against Martinez and make sure that they get back the missing money.
There are lots of things to be done to fix the PFF. The federation should first confirm it's members because more than one half of its current FA members are not active. Most of them only become active once there is an election.
Some of them were created politically to produce votes for candidates. I could count on my fingers those who are real active members. Active members should pay annual dues. How many of these FAs' pay annual dues?
Fixing the PFF is another story. As of the moment, the focus is on getting rid of Martinez. If I were Martinez, I should resign and live a private life. I would go and disappear where ever I want. Remember another PFF president Col. Lope Pascual? He just disappeared. Martinez could follow his example. GOD BLESS email@example.com
Sun Star Cagayan de Oro
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