Football brawl: the other sides




I write this in the interest of airing other sides of the controversial football brawl during the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu -Alcoy Football Club game last March 16, 2014. I bet many already heard the Alcoy side many times, even argued in their favor. But these other sides also need to see the light of day, in the interest of balance and fairness.

Yes, I am the eldest brother of the man in grey — Enrico Mongaya — who entered the scene and has been flogged in social media for a week now.  Yes, this blog post is biased in favor of the other sides.

And yes, I warn you that these other sides may not be right or not entirely right. The truth after all has several sides. But for those who have not yet read but are interested in knowing the other sides, this post is for you.

Why write this only now? Because I received a copy of the statement of the parents of the Ateneo players only hours ago. In my Facebook page and in the Facebook group “Maghisgot Kitag Politika, Bay,” I only talked about the other sides on Thursday, after I actually heard the account of one of the Ateneo de Cebu boys, Jose Mari Kwan.

There are several points of course but I want to present the statement of the parents first:




While writing this post, I was told that only Cebu Daily News published the letter today.

After the story on Little Azkal Kintaro Miyagi in, the Manila Standard picked up Miyagi’s story and this was published on Thursday. Check out this link:

The Sun.Star Cebu story on Miyagi was published on Friday or five days after the incident:

Then, allow me to present the account of little JM Kwan about his experience. Because no reporter asked Kwan about his side, he posted this in his Facebook account. I had shared this online since Thursday. It was published only in Superbalita on Saturday. Below is a screenshot of his Facebook timeline:

JM kwan

Amid all the stories that came out last week, one columnist reached out and wrote about Enrico Mongaya’s side. Here’s a link to Michelle So’s column:

Next, let us revisit the injuries of the 5’7″ tall goalie Rodenel Binolirao Jr. He was shown bloodied in a photo taken on Sunday March 16, 2014 that came out several times in Sun.Star and posted several times online in various social media channels.

Here is the description of the injury by his uncle, Sun.Star sports writer Rommel Manlosa in our PM exchanges last Monday when I offered myself as bridge and I still have yet to hear the other sides.

I have no quarrel with Rommel. I consider him a friend. I understand he is after the welfare of his nephew. We are dragged into this partly because of family. He believes the version of his nephew and he urged the family to file a case against my brother. I am expressing myself in this post.

Just allow me to quote Rommel when he mentioned the use of a Swiss knife by my brother while I told him it was Rico’s car key:


Then, his nephew Binolirao suffered a big head wound. “Ang akong pag-umangkon dako kaayo og samad sa ulo.”


I remember reading somebody from the Cebu Football Association (CFA) describing the injury as a “nasty gash.”

Two days after the incident, Binolirao went to the Cebu Provincial Capitol and appealed for help. Here is a picture of Binolirao with Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale that was published in Superbalita:

with magpale

I am still wondering where is the “dakong samad” and “nasty gash” that was stabbed by a “Swiss knife.” Maybe, the photographer missed the wound on Binolirao’s head. Or maybe, it was not that serious after all.

But whatever, even if Binolirao choked little JM Kwan, many contend that hitting the former on the head is unjustified. An adult has no right to enter a football field to interfere in a fight between kids even if a 5’7″ teener is choking a 5 foot tall boy. Non-interference takes precedence over saving a smaller kid from being choked.

Still, the argument goes, but why hit Binolirao on the head?

Allow me to post this screenshot as part of the other side:

Headlock danger

Yet, was it a headlock? Neck cranking? Or was Binolirao merely pinning JM Kwan? The pictures that were published and shared online only made many to go into another round of arguments. I, however, asked the opinions of Atty. Vicente Fernandez who is a judo instructor and fellow journalist John Rey Saavedra who is a jujitso instructor. On Facebook, there are also those who insisted JM Kwan was only pinned down, not choked nor was his head being cranked.

For ordinary laymen like me, we can say “gitook.” And that was what Rico saw at the heat of the moment.

Maybe, Sun.Star needs to publish a clearer picture of the situation before Rico arrived at the scene. So far, this was the only one published and five days after the incident:


With all these said, I can only add that my brother made a judgement call that many disagreed with. However, there are a few like little JM Kwan and the relatives of the other Ateneo players who believed Rico saved a life.

Ah, JM Kwan said his Tito Rico saved two lives. And his family is in the process of filing a case against Binolirao.

At this point, I want to touch something legal. There are also legal points like child abuse and defense of strangers. But I am not a lawyer so I will just present screenshots:

1. Here’s this piece of jurisprudence on child abuse:


2. Here’s a screenshot of the blog of Atty. Manuel J. Laserna Jr. at


As I said in the onset, this blog post is biased in favor of Rico, my brother. But I know the points presented by both sides. I won’t begrudge you if you will still join the lynching as long as you have also examined both sides and found the other sides wanting.

I respect all your opinions. All I am asking is also respect for my opinion. In the end, the controversy will be decided in the proper forums and Rico is prepared to face the consequences, unless of course there will be reconciliation in the mutual interest of all concerned.

Related links

“Take a Second Look” (Cebu Daily News)

Jose Mari Kwan’s Facebook Timeline

My In Between Columns on Facebook

Also follow @anol_cebu on Twitter.


19 Replies to “Football brawl: the other sides”

  1. Enrico and his wife just sent a text message asking that I should not engage further. They don’t know about this post yet. All they know is, I told them yesterday that I will write the other sides in my blog because it is unfair that only one side got published well and commented on. I could not write extensively about the other sides in Sun.Star because of the conflict of interest rule. I don’t know what is happening at their end right this moment. But I will not anymore make additional posts.


  2. Thank you po for giving the other side.

    While I still believe that an adult should not have intervened adding to the violence but could have gone in to with-strain those involved, what concerns me more is the lack to credible mediation.

    Here adults have a chance to teach young people a good lesson. I do believe your brother is probably a good man who now regrets he went in so heavy handed. Please can I humbly suggest he makes a statement to that effect with an apology? If he can set an example as the bigger man willing to admit that with a little more thought he could have dealt with the situation better I believe it would set a good example for youth and show the true calibre of your brother. Please know he is in my prayers.


  3. You’re welcome sir Craig Burrows. Trust that your message will reach him. I also learned just moments ago that mediation is ongoing away from all the media and social media noise. I agree with the effort especially when it involves several parties aside from my brother and the Binoliraos. The Kwans felt so aggrieved, for instance, but had been largely ignored by the online groundswell. They should be included in the mediation efforts. I think it is best for the mediation to transpire away from the public eye in the interest of achieving reconciliation.

    I will keep those following this thread posted.


  4. Thank you po.

    While I have been one of those noisy on Social Media I have also done my best to share both sides.

    It is good to hear mediation is now going on. If you do have any news please know I want to be balanced. I have shared your Blog here and the links you have posted here previously on Social Media. If I can share anything that will further the efforts for peace and setting an example to young people please let me know. Even in the face of sad situation like this I do believe we can see reconciliation, forgiveness and set the right example to youth.

    Again, your brother is in my prayers and I have faith he can come out of this stronger. Blessing, Craig.


  5. For balance, here’s a text message forwarded to me from the camp of the mayor of Alcoy town: “Nagmeeting and parents ni Kwan, Mongaya ug lola sa Alcoy goalie, two parents from Alcoy at the CFA office with Atty. Entise, Mr. Quinones, et. al.”

    This should show readers here that a lot has also been going on away from the limelight to establish communication lines unfettered by the heated arguments in various social media channels in the mutual interest of reconciliation.

    God bless to all.


  6. That is very good to hear.

    This is the message I published on Social Media earlier:

    “It is good to hear that mediation talks are ongoing between all sides in the football fracas in Cebu. Please can I politely suggest we lower the noise on Social Media which will hopefully lower the temperature of the discussion. Obviously I have been one of the loudest voices, I do not regret that. However I believe in justice, forgiveness & that ‪#‎LoveWins‬ So instead of us sharing photos and blame please can we share a prayer for peace?

    Creator, We have all made mistakes & fallen short. We ask forgiveness for our weaknesses. Help us to remember that as we judge so will we be judged. May peace & forgiveness enter the hearts of all those involved in the sad incidents we have seen during that football match in Cebu. May we bring light & not darkness into this situation so that #LoveWins. Amen.”


  7. nothing can justify an adult striking a minor with a key or whatever was in his hand. he could have saved JM by just merely pushing away the goalie or scold him, or a hard tap perhaps. just like the man in black sleeveless did. his intention was good, no question about that. but the manner in which he did it is just wrong.

    I hope both parties can settle this and agree whatever is best for both parties. But whatever is the resolve, i just would not like that such action of a parent be vindicated. It is just wrong. plain and simple wrong. no parent should inflict any harm to any minor, specially not in the playing field.


  8. It’s a good thing having someone on the other side airing the concerns. At least we now have ideas of what happened. But the post is limited only to defend your brother’s actions during the incident. But what is more important here is that the two camps would reach out to each other and have peace, forgiveness and continue playing.. Have a good day..


    1. Hi, Rafael Castillo. Rest assured that all sides are on the road towards reconciliation. While my brother faced Binolirao and his lola, the latter also met JM Kwan and his parents. The mediation began last Sunday away from mainstream and social media.


  9. d mn ko mu tuo nga intention ato tawhana mu patay ug taw sa pag bali sa liog, rason ra to para mka limpyo ang pangan sa nag grey, d mn gni ma bali ang liog sa UFC fighter nga professionals, samot nag kana… ma tuok lng pero dili na mamatay oi…


    1. According to Judo instructor Vicente Fernandez, chokes are dangerous especially when pressure is placed on the larynx because it could lead to death. Jujitsu instructor John Rey Saavedra said chokes are not allowed in their tournaments. However, there are others who say it was not a choke. It was a head crank, which is more dangerous. Or merely a pinning hold which is not dangerous.

      At the heat of the moment, here is an amateur that looks like he is choking a much smaller boy. Rico saw it and concluded it was a choke. JM Kwan said he was choked. Rodenel Binolirao himself admitted he used a headlock which in effect is a choke.

      Rico decided to act. Many say he should have stayed behind and merely watched the big boy choke a smaller boy. On the other hand, the smaller boy’s parents were also incensed.

      I respect all opinions. Whether one agrees or disagrees, I respect your opinion. I also say thank you for respecting my opinion.

      Meanwhile, mediation is now ongoing for the mutual benefit of all sides. And mutual benefit means it should be satisfactory for all sides particularly the Binoliraos and the Kwans. And I support the idea that mediation should be carried out away from media and social media noise.


  10. A closer look at the original picture (straight on, adult preparing to hit goalie with a hard blunt object, man in black shirt running to separate the kids) shows the “headlock” to be of the non lethal variety, and that the smaller boy, despite being on the ground, is striking the goalie on the left cheek with his right fist.


    1. If this is the Star Wars series, we are looking at the sequel. There is a prequel. Sunstar has yet to release more pictures of the two kids before the man in grey arrived.

      Anyway, mediation is proceeding while the CFA has announced its decision. I like to see better security in future CFA games, not just in preventing parents from intervening but also in protecting smaller kids from being mauled.


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