Trigger warning: This article deals with violence against women, as well as physical and emotional abuse.
Former UAAP courtside reporter Agatha Uvero on July 13 took to Twitter to detail alleged physical and emotional abuse she suffered from ex-fiancé basketball player Paul Desiderio.
"I really didn't wanna do this," Uvero said, "but the threats have been difficult and I owe this to myself and to women out there."
Through a lengthy entry on her Notes app, the 24-year-old said that throughout their relationship, she was subjected to various forms of physical abuse, including strangulation, punching, biting, and kicking, among others.
Uvero also accused the 25-year-old Blackwater Bossing guard of physically abusing her while she was two months pregnant with their baby.
"I swear to you all if I was lying may God punish me," she said.
Uvero also shared a screenshot of a conversation between two people telling each other to seek professional help. The receiver also appears to be threatening the sender upon intoxication. The conversation, however, didn't explicitly show that it was between Uvero and Desiderio.
Uvero said she also talked to Desiderio "many times," but he "kept telling her" to do it, alluding to her speaking up against the alleged abuse. It, then, would result in his career's downfall, and it's her fault.
"I'm done with your gaslighting, Paul," she said.
Uvero in an already-deleted tweet last June 2 announced that they're no longer together and have gone their separate ways "for a while."
On May 31, Desiderio sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury and is on a one-year hiatus from PBA.
They got engaged in November 2019 and welcomed their first son, Juan Andres, in April 2021.
Desiderio has yet to comment on the matter. His Twitter account appears to have been deleted, while his Instagram is currently set to private.
PBA 'will not tolerate,' will investigate issue
In a statement, the Philippine Basketball Association said it will not tolerate "any form" of domestic abuse in the league, noting that it will investigate the issue.
"No matter the cause or circumstances, physical and psychological abuse of women, whether in the confines of marriage or not, is inexcusable," it said. "This report deserves to be given serious attention by both the ballclub concerned and the PBA itself."
PBA also expressed confidence that Desiderio's organization "will extend its full cooperation and assistance toward ensuring that a just determination is reached."
"The league will conduct an inquiry and hand down its findings and resolution as soon as the facts are clearly established," PBA added.
Blackwater reserves 'right to comment' on 'unverified' posts
In a statement, Desiderio's organization Blackwater Bossing said it reserves its "right to comment" on social media posts, "especially if they are unverified."
"We respect the personal life and privacy of our players unless they seek our help and assistance," Blackwater said, adding that once the allegations are proven true and the concerned player consents, it will look into the issue and "possibly" come out with its position.
"Definitely, we abhor any and all forms of violence against women and children. Women and children deserve nothing less of our love and respect," it said.
Violence against women
According to the World Health Organization, one in three women around the world, or about 736 million, are subjected to physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, be it from a sexual partner or not.
The WHO also said that the lockdowns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic "dramatically increased" women's exposure to abuse at home, as family members spend more time in close contact and household stress intensifies. The risk, then, grows even greater when families also have to cope with potential economic or job losses.
The Philippines has been among the countries with the strictest and longest lockdowns.
The Philippine Commission on Women, meanwhile, said over 18,000 cases of violence against women were reported to the Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center from March 2020 to August 2021.
The last high-profile domestic violence case reported was just last March, that of actress Ana Jalandoni and ex-boyfriend actor Kit Thompson's in a hotel in Tagaytay.
The following April, Jalandoni in an interview with Boy Abunda detailed several instances of Thompson allegedly laying a finger on her prior to the Tagaytay incident.
If you are, or if you personally know someone being abused during this time of health emergency, don’t hesitate to seek help to stop the abuse.
The PCW has shared important contact details if such abuses were to occur:
Public Attorney’s Office (PAO)
Hotline: (02) 8929-9436 local 106, 107, or 159 (local “0” for operator), (+62) 9393233665
Email address: [email protected]
Inter-Agency Council on Violence Against Women and their Children
Mobile numbers: 09178671907 | 09178748961
Email address: [email protected]