John Riel Casimero remains the subject of an active legal investigation in the Philippines.
An official complaint was filed on February 11 against the three-division and reigning WBO bantamweight titlist from Ormoc City, Philippines, who is accused of Acts of Lasciviousness and of being in violation of Republic Act 7610—Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act. The complaint and pending investigation alleged that Casimero made inappropriate contact with a minor last June in Taguig City.
Violation of RA 7610 is punishable by imprisonment of no less than three months but no more than three years. Similarly, a suspect found guilty of Act of Lasciviousness is punishable by imprisonment of six months to six years.
According to the official police report—a copy of which was obtained by BoxingScene.com—the incident in question allegedly took place last June 7 at City Park Hotel Manila in Taguig City, the hometown of the alleged victim and her best friend who encouraged her to file a formal complaint.
The alleged victim—whose age is listed as 17 at the time of the alleged incident—claims in the interview conducted by Barangay VAWC (Violence Against Women and Children) Office Aisah Basaruden on February 11 that Casimero touched her breast and vagina on separate occasions while she was trying to sleep in his hotel room. The latter incident allegedly took place around 11:00 p.m., four hours after she arrived at the hotel in hopes of getting a picture with Casimero who she admitted having “idolized… as a boxer.”
Casimero was 31 years of age at the time of the alleged incident.
The alleged victim stated that she saw the boxer jogging earlier in the day “around 10:00 a.m.… at FTI, Taguig City opposite Sunshine Mall where I work. I called his name and asked to take a picture.” According to the complaint, Casimero reportedly declined due to doing his road work but offered to connect through social media.
An online video chat reportedly took place at or around 6:00 p.m., at which time Casimero allegedly requested her to meet him at the hotel at which he was staying prior to traveling to the U.S. for training camp ahead of a scheduled August 14 fight in Carson, California. Upon arriving at the hotel at or around 7:00 p.m., Casimero allegedly paid the cab fare and encouraged the victim to come up to his room.
The victim recalls during the interview that she “found him and his friends who were blogging. [Casimero] said we'll just take a picture early (the next day), so I just said goodbye to go home.”
From there, Casimero allegedly persuaded the victim to stay in the room for the night since it was raining so hard outside. The victim claims to have laid down in the bed at around 9:00 p.m., originally head to foot with Casimero but then allegedly persuaded to lie down face-to-face with the boxer. Soon thereafter, the victim alleges that Casimero touched her breasts but that she rejected his advances and asked him to stop. He obliged but she recalled having trouble going back to sleep “because I thought he might do something bad to me.”
According to the report, Casimero allegedly touched the victim’s vagina with his right hand approximately four hours later. She claims to have removed his hand, at which point he allegedly offered to pay her—which she rejected and threatened to go the police.
The alleged victim claimed to have left the hotel the following morning. However, her best friend–a 19-year-old male, according to the complaint—informed authorities during his interview as the official complainant that she disclosed the alleged incident to him on June 17, ten days later.
Casimero was already in the U.S. by that point according to his social media feed, having opened training camp in Las Vegas for what was to have been a two-belt bantamweight title unification bout with countryman and WBC champ Nonito Donaire. The fight fell apart over a nasty and very public dispute over drug testing protocol, with Casimero going on to face two-time Olympic Gold medalist and former lineal junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux whom he defeated by disputed split decision in an ugly affair.
The alleged victim declined to contact authorities until earlier this month “because I was scared then because he was a famous person and I was just a common person who I was afraid nobody would believe. I also didn't have any acquaintances or children here in Taguig that I could approach to ask for help and advise me what I should do.”
The interview concluded with the alleged victim informing the officer that she wants Casimero “to go to jail.”
The affidavit was examined and approved by administering officer Josephine Bassig, although the date on the statement reads February 11, 2021. A physical stamp of acceptance indicates the correct date of February 11, 2022.
The official investigation data form as prepared by the National Prosecution Service Office of the Taguig City Prosecutor refers to the victim as 17 years old at the time of the incident. However, it also lists her birthday as June 25, 2004, which would have made her 16 at the time, and still more than two weeks from her 17th birthday.
A copy of her birth certificate that is included with the police report lists her birthday as July 7, 2001—which would have made her 19 at the time of the alleged incident and one full month shy of her 20th birthday.
RA 7610 is in place for children “below eighteen (18) years of age or those over but are unable to fully take care of themselves or protect themselves from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation, or discrimination because of a physical or mental disability or condition.”
Confirmation of the alleged victim’s age could potentially determine whether the investigation finds Casimero in violation of RA 7610. The alleged victim’s age is less relevant to the investigation into the separate Act of Lasciviousness charge.
Efforts to contact Casimero and Egis Klimas—who is now assisting Jose De La Cruz in managing the boxer—seeking comment went unreturned as this goes to publish. Efforts to track down Casimero’s legal representative was unsuccessful, although Jayson Casimero, John Riel’s older brother and a former boxer has referred to the case as “fabricated” claims and whose legal team plans to address in the coming days.
Calls for the WBO to strip Casimero based on the damning allegations have so far been met with resistance. The sanctioning body is still collecting information regarding the case. There is room within its by-laws to strip a champion of their title “for a proven violation to the Rules and Regulations that govern World Championship Contest, for conduct considered detrimental to the good name and prestige of professional boxing, or for any other good reason that may be established by the World Championship Committee, including the refusal to participate in a bout that has been duly approved by the Championship Committee.”
Casimero (31-4, 21KOs) dodged that bullet ahead of his previously scheduled title defense. The Filipino southpaw was due to face England’s Paul Butler (33-2, 15KOs) last December 11 in Dubai. An untimely bout with gastritis left him unable to participate in the pre-fight weigh-in and leading to his withdrawal from the Probellum event.
Because it was an ordered mandatory title defense, Casimero was forced to provide the WBO with medical records declaring him unfit for combat. The sanctioning body accepted the provided documentation, at which point the fight was re-ordered to take place no later than April 30, 2022.
Probellum set aside a date of April 23, only to change to April 22 in Liverpool upon formally announcing the fight. Casimero is presently in the U.S. training for the fight, though his arrival in-country has sparked international speculation. Reports from the Philippines claim that Casimero “fled” from national authorities and entered the U.S. while under an expired visa.
BoxingScene.com has learned that the source of such claims is a copy of an alleged request for Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker revocation with California Service Center branch of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services—whose office approved the original application on January 13, 2020. A representative with the agency confirmed to BoxingScene.com that no such request exists as this goes to publish.
Casimero has won titles at junior flyweight, flyweight and bantamweight. His current title reign began with a third-round knockout of Zolani Tete in November 2019 on the road in Birmingham, England. Casimero has made two successful defenses, both coming as alternatives to title unification bouts which failed to materialize.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
ADD COMMENT VIEW COMMENTS (22)