By JULIEN MERCED C. MATABUENA
MANILA, Philippines – Three of the four accused Azkals have spoken up about the rape accusation hurled at them by a certain Paul Weiler.
"I've heard a lot of rumors and speculations, that this person [Weiler] is trying to get back at the team because we had a fall[ing] out while we were in Germany.
"I don't know the full story, they’re all just rumors," Jason Sabio, one of the accused, was quoted in a report by abs-cbnnews.com, posted on July 11.
The Azkals' stay in Germany in mid-June this year was part of their preparations for their first FIFA World Cup qualifying match vs. Sri Lanka.
Apart from Sabio, Weiler named Neil Etheridge, Anton del Rosario and Simon Greatwich as the other suspects involved in the alleged rape case.
Del Rosario said the Azkals management are already “trying to figure out where [the rumor] came from.”
"We're trying to focus on the game ahead of us and that’s what’s more important than anything else," del Rosario added.
Greatwich, for his part, called these allegations “distractions” that are “not helping” the team, specifically as their upcoming World Cup qualifying match vs. Kuwait has already been scheduled later this month.
“We’ve done nothing wrong so hopefully we can get over it together,” he said.
Etheridge has yet to give his side as of this writing.
Meanwhile, at PR Asia’s July 11 press conference for Filipino-Spanish Azkals striker Angel Aldeguer Guirado, a representative of the firm stepped in and explained that Guirado cannot answer questions pertaining to the alleged incident.
PFF consultant drops names of four Azkals
In an undated post on thehotdogstand.net, the website’s editor Eric Dimzon posted a message allegedly from Weiler, who identified himself as “still I hold my position as PFF [Philippine Football Federation] consultant ( since 2007 ) and I was very close to the NT [national team, Azkals] and players until June 15 ( Training camp Germany ) as I was suddenly suspended from the PHil NT through NT headcoach Micheal Weiss…”
Weiler directly addressed his letter to Dimzon.
In the message, Weiler directly named the suspects, citing “different sources” whom he refused to divulge “bec. I’ve fear that the sources get pressure.”
Weiler singled out Etheridge, saying, "Mr. Weiss [Azkals head coach Michael Weiss] told me about Neils [sic] sex violence problem, around 1 week before he and the Azkals came to Germany.”
Weiler, who said he was with the Azkals while they were in Germany, wrote that he hoped to discuss the matter once the team arrived in Germany but “it did not happen and no action were done to suspend Neil and the others involved.”
“Neil committed now by his own words, that he used sex violence vs a woman and I recorded the message exchange with him in Facebook,” he claimed.
Weiler alleged: “Players Anton del Rosario, Jason Sabio and especially Simon Greatwich were involved and recorded the incident also via video cam ( Jason Sabio was the one holding the camera ). Neil Etheridge and his very best friend Simon Greatwich did rape the woman and it seems happened in a villa/house of general manager Dan Palami ( who seems not know about what happened in his house and was not there ).
“’Master mind’ of this sex violence idea seems Anton del Rosario .. so far I know he did not rape the woman but pushed the others to do it.”
Weiler then said that he already forwarded these information to the German Football Federation (DFB). He added that he also expressed his disappointment to the federation for not suspending the players allegedly involved.
Weiler also threatened that he “will involve on Monday the german police BKA ( since as german citizen I’ ve to tell the police if I know about a criminal act …even (so far I know ) it happened in a foreign country). He added that he already told the DFB “and others” of this plan.
In the latter part of his message, Weiler said that he “can not live w/ the hard facts that players raped a young Manila woman and that it will be ‘okay’ for everybody.”
He expressed fear that the four accused “will do it again” if they go unpunished.
“Maybe serious Azkals players are also pressured by them,” he added.
Weiler then clarified that he believes that “a very small group of the Azkals and the more as 90% of azkals players are very serious and have no intension to do such violent behaviours.
“I like the Azkals furtheron .. but it would be very piTy and unhealthy for the whole NT [national team] if such players can escape from their bad styles easily.”
The alleged exchange of message between Paul and Neil
On July 10, Pinoy Gossip Boy (PGB) posted the alleged messages Weiler had exchanged with Neil Etheridge on Facebook.
PGB, however, did not detail from whom or how he received this information.
Based on the screenshots published, Weiler confronted Etheridge concerning the incident. This allegedly happened on July 7 as seen on the timestamps.
When Weiler informed Etheridge that he already knew about the latter’s “sex violence problem” through Weiss, Etheridge replied, “Yeah but what exactly did he say to you I am back in England and it is hard to speak to him atm (at the
Weiler then told Etheridge that “it’ s up to you if u want to know what he said.”
“I think you have cellphone or whatever hardware. Maybe you can swim to him and ask him!” Weiler said.
To this, the striker allegedly answered, “Haha… I just don’t understand, no offence, why he is telling everyone? The situation has nothing to do with the world only people inside should know… I don’t appreciate everyone knowing, I hope you can understand this.”
Weiler’s last response as posted on PGB read, “I think the story will makes its round and it will be a dynamic story.. I must say I can understand that coach Weiss will soon resign … but maybe he is so cooooooooooooooooooooooool. ( interesting how his mom will react who educated him in serious way .. she said to me always ).
“do u know Neil: I ‘ m openminded to you…. YES.. I’ m very disappointed.”
Azkals team manager sheds light on Weiler’s ‘true’ identity
Palami, for his part, appeared in a live interview with “24 Oras” on July 11 and talked about Weiler’s identity.
“Actually, nag-aapply 'yun [Weiler] eh. He was appointed as consultant before, during the time of PFF president Johnny Romualdez. That was about almost 10 years ago. And until now 'yun ang hinahawakan niyang papel,” he said.
The Azkals manager further related that Weiler showed him the said papers when they went to Germany last June. He asked Weiler for accreditation from the incumbent PFF administration, but the latter wasn’t able to provide pertinent papers.
“So sabi niya mag-aapply na lang ako as consultant for the Azkals. But then I said we don't have that kind of position right now, so maybe in the future.
“But 'yun nga, medyo hindi yata nasiyahan na hindi tinanggap kaya he come up with the statement na hindi naman talaga siya kasama sa team. I'm quite surprised na meron siyang mga gano'n,” Palami said.
He added that he talked with the Azkals coaches and all other players upon finding out about the issue, “[but] as far as they are concerned, hindi naman talaga, hindi naman sila nakipag-usap kay Paul or... hindi nga nila napag-usapan itong kontrobersiyang ito.”
“On their side [accused Azkals], talagang ibang-iba 'yung istorya eh. In fact, I've also asked the people sa bahay [ko] and ibang-iba talaga 'yung istorya. That's why sabi ko nga I can't take action kung ang titingnan ko lang [ay] 'yung nasa Internet.
“Because anybody right now can write on the Internet. Sabi ko nga sa Internet buhay pa rin si Elvis, pati 'yung ibang mga personalities. But then again, this is a very serious allegation. Talagang kailangang pansinin because we will never tolerate that,” said Palami.
However, with just blog posts and “the figment [of imagination] of a purported consultant na hindi naman talaga consultant...” as proof for now, “we cannot take action [yet],” said the team manager.
He added that he’s “trying to get more details,” as abovementioned proof “are not credible sources.”
Palami hopes that his team, which is currently training for their upcoming match vs. Kuwait, will remain focused on the game despite this hurdle.
“Kinausap ko naman sila and sabi ko naman, kung wala namang nangyari na gano'n [eh 'di] wala silang kailangang ikabahala.
“Ang kinatatakutan lang nila is, of course, 'yun nga, parang right now would be [a] really high-profile [time para sa] mga players natin. Sabi ko nga sa kanila, it's important na talagang maingat tayo sa lahat ng mga gagawin natin, mag-ingat tayo sa lahat ng sasabihin natin because you'll now be under scrutiny.
“It's unfortunate na may mga ganitong issues but we cannot be distracted from itong goal natin na to get past Kuwait,” he said.
According to the same "24 Oras" report, Weiss declined to comment on the issue but was said to have appealed to the public to not believe everything they read on the Internet.
The story, as told in blind item
Days leading to Eric Dimzon's item posted online, a number of posts describing the incident have already surfaced on various blog sites such as thehotdogstand.net and fashionpulis.com. However, these websites did not directly name the Azkals members nor the team in question.
According to Dimzon, still via thehotdogstand.net, the girl “gamely went” with one athlete to the team manager’s place in Makati, which reportedly “also serves as the residence of other players.”
Apparently, the two were already “enjoying themselves” when three more athletes “tried to join the two.” The girl supposedly pleaded to not have sex with the four athletes but it fell on deaf ears as one of them “insisted that she must.”
The girl was then purportedly “made to perform sexual acts typical of a porn star” as three athletes “lived out their wildest sexual fantasies with her” while the fourth taped them.
More, the players allegedly “detained” the girl and only released her after she promised them not to tell others what happened.
“When [the] team manager found out what happened, he got mad at [the] players... So mad, in fact that he threw the players out of his property,” forcing them to seek temporary refuge at a hotel.
However, the team manager allegedly “decided to let the players go off the hook quite easily” and instead purportedly busied himself with “trying to cover up the totally shameful and unacceptable incident.”
“Immediately after the incident, [the] team manager offered a huge amount to [the girl] as hush money. He then told the involved players to lie low. And he used his vast public relations machinery to promote his team as worthy of praise and adulation despite the incident,” Dimzon finished.
Meanwhile, according to a post on fashionpulis.com, there are many versions of the incident but presented two to which readers “can be the judge.”
Version A claimed that one of the athletes allegedly invited a girl whom he met at a bar “to the house for some fun.” To the girl’s surprise, two of his team mates arrived after she and the first athlete “were done.” Things took a turn for the worse when two of the three guys allegedly forced her to have sex with them while the third guy recorded the whole thing on video.
Version B purported that the girl did the deed with two of the members while one of them watched. However, it turned out that the last guy did more than watch because he allegedly taped the act without the girl’s consent. When the girl discovered the video, she was said to have immediately insisted that it be erased. The athletes rejected her demand and threw her out of the house instead.
This same post, citing a “reliable source,” also claimed that the girl has already filed rape charges last July 7 against those who victimized her.
It also alleged that “one of the athletes involved in the case has tapped the services of a very prestigious law firm located along Paseo de Roxas.”