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Vargas takes over as POC president


Boxing chief Victorico Vargas clinched the presidency of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), beating Jose “Peping” Cojuangco by a wide margin in special elections yesterday at the Wack-Wack Golf and Country Club in Mandaluyong City.
But Cojuangco, 83 and who ran the affairs of the local Olympic movement since 2004, will not go down without a fight.
POC insiders claimed Cojuangco is to seek intervention from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by submitting a claim of mishandling the order handed by IOC deputy director general Pere Miro of Spain last Feb. 9.
Cojuangco, it was said, would stress in his report that the election panel of long-time IOC member Francisco Elizalde, Bro. Bernie Oca and lawyer Alberto Agra fell to pressure brought by lower court order, which ran counter to the spirit of the Olympic movement.
He would stress that a national Olympic committee (NOC) should be autonomous and free from any government pressure.
Also, Cojuangco is said to raise that an agreement reached during the extraordinary general assembly meeting called by the IOC last Feb. 19 was not followed.
His claim, a source said, would center on the agreement for the POC to call for a special election on the basis of its charter and not merely to follow the court order.
He had hoped to throw Vargas and cycling chief Bambol Tolentino out of contention for their faikure to meet the minimum number of attendance in POC meetings from 2014 to 2016 had they followed the agreement.
But the election panel gave Vargas the green light to run and he eventually posted an overwhelming 24-19 victory in the POC polls.
The source said it could be a ground for the country’s suspension from the IOC’s roll of NOCs.
A suspended country will not only be barred from seeing action in major international tournaments, but its financial grants and subsidies from the Olympic Solidarity Movement will also be snapped.
It would also affect the country’s hosting of the Southeast Asian Games and the Fiba World.
“As far as I know, Cong (Cojuangco) will report everything that happened, including those that went wrong, to the IOC,” said the source, adding that it would be Cojuangco’s daughter in Mikee Jaworski who will submit the report before Miro and IOC president Thomas Bach.
“The IOC is watching us with interest. I’m sure it will talk to other parties, not just Cong and Mikee. Pere Miro might even cone here. Let’s see how things will unfold. But the sure thing is that the IOC will know what exactly happened in this election.”
The Tribune tried, but Cojuangco refused to comment.
“Hindi na ako magsasalita at baka may masabi lang akong masama,” he said, hinting that he will call an emergency meeting with his inner circle and legal team to plot their next action.
Bringing the matter before the IOC, however, could be an exercise in futility for Cojuangco and his men as Elizalde asserted that he was given the green light to hold an election and put Vargas and Tolentino in contention.
An IOC member for 27 years and a part of its ethics committee, Elizalde said the IOC told him that it frowns on government intervention, but once the matter already reached the court, it cannot do anything about it and has to respect the law of the land.
“It’s not our decision to make because if we disqualify him again, we will be charged with contempt. So we just followed the orders of the court,” said the 84-year old Elizalde, who is coming from a week-long trip with other IOC members in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“They think that this matter should be discussed in the general assembly. But once this had already taken to court, the IOC cannot in any way say that it’s illegal or against the Olympic charter.”
He added that the IOC even has a written order to the POC, saying that it cannot do anything to stop the election and just comply with the order of the Pasig Regional Trial Court.
“They had expressed it in writing directed to the POC that they regret that this thing is happening but there’s nothing that they can do as far as not allowing the election to take place. The IOC said that we should carry out the electoral process.”
“Part of the judge’s decision was to allow these two gentlemen to be candidates. We just follow what the judge ordered and the rest is history.”
Vargas has yet to appoint his secretary-general, but stressed that a transition team would be assembled as they set their sights on the country’s participation of the Asian Games and hosting of the SEA Games.
His principal, industrialist Manny Pangilinan, already got the ball rolling as he donated P20 million seed money to the POC.
“This is an overwhelming experience and I thank everybody who supported my candidacy,” said Vargas, who will take over an executive council dominated by Cojuangco allies.
“We are here to reach out, we are here to move on, and we are here to unite. Reconciliation is very important at this point.”

1 comment

  • Kaloy

    Habang nadiyan ang mafia ni babalu mahihirapan ka na pamunuan ang POC.. Getrid of this people first siguro naman kilala a ninyo ang mga ito....

    Kaloy Saturday, 24 February 2018 06:43 Comment Link

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