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Vargas group claims Peping challenge gaining ground


A snowballing momentum by the opposition, led by boxing chief Victorico Vargas, to force a re-vote on February 23 is reportedly keeping beleaguered Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Jose 'Peping' Cojuangco restless.
And this, as the POC general assembly is set to convene in an extraordinary session on Feb. 19 at the Wack-Wack Golf and Country Club in Mandaluyong City.
Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines executive director Ed Picson said they have already secured the support of at least 22 of the 45 voting national sports association (NSA) leaders.
If this information is accurate, it will give Vargas a handsome chance in toppling Cojuangco, on top of the POC for the past 13 years.
In an order issued by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over the weekend, the POC leadership was forced to call for a special session to tackle pressing election-related matters following a ruling issued by local court stating that Vargas should be allowed to run in a poll set on Feb. 23.
The special session would focus on whether Vargas would be allowed to seek the presidency as the three-man election panel previously disqualified him from challenging Cojuangco in 2016 due to his poor attendance in past meetings.
POC insiders said Vargas needs not only the support of a simple majority, but three-fourths of the general membership to amend the provision in the POC charter that states that a presidential candidate must be an “active member” of the local Olympic council as reflected by his attendance in the general assembly meetings.
Picson said they already have 22 votes and they are working hard to hike the number to around 25 to 27 days before the crucial meeting.
“All I can say is that we’re doing good. We already have the support of 22 (NSA leaders) and we’re still working on several more, We want to shoot for the higher and number and solicit the support of as many NSA leaders as possible just to be sure,” said Picson, adding that they’re looking forward to a fair and honest election on Feb. 23 as ordered by the Pasig Regional Trial Court (RTC) in a decision last December.
“Defying court order would lead to contempt. I hope the general assembly would put Mr. Vargas in contention and decide to call for an election election based on the order of the RTC.”
Another member of the opposition group, Karen Caballero, said they are “working very hard” to instill change in the POC leadership.
Caballero, the sepak takraw president, refused to mention any particular number, but beamed optimism over their chances to have a new POC president before the country joins the Asian Games in two Indonesian cities later this year.
“We’re working very hard,” said Caballero, who was tasked by the group to sit down with fellow NSA leaders to solicit their support. “I don’t want to mention any particular number at this point, but I can say that things are looking very good.”
Sources said Cojuangco and his group are already aware of the momentum the opposition is slowly gaining.
In fact, he reportedly called for an emergency meeting Tuesday night to plot their next action while his lawyers will be in attendance in an executive council meeting on Thursday to discuss their legal strategy.
“They have an emergency meeting tonight,” the source said, adding that Cojuangco is already in a state of panic based on his actions in the previous POC general assembly where he prematurely adjourned the session in a bid to evade queries about the looming election.
“All I can say is that the POC extraordinary session will be very interesting.”

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