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POC, Cojuangco under fire from PSC, Vargas

  • Written by Ed Andaya
  • Published in Other Sports
  • Read: 227

EVEN as  the  camp of boxing head Ricky Vargas prepares  to challenge the decision of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) to  disqualify  him from running as president in next month’s elections of the country’s highest governing body in sports, the local sports world expressed its disgust and disappointment.

PBA legend and now Philippine  Sports Commission (PSC) Commissioner Ramon Fernandez said  the  government sports agency will now go directly to the athletes and coaches.
“The POC  has become a circus  with politicans running it. No clean and fair elections, no PSC  funds to the POC. The PSC funds will go straight to the athletes and their coaches,” said Fernandez in reaction to  reports that  Vargas was declared ineligible by the three-man  POC election  committee,  only two days  after filing his candidacy.
Vargas, a protege of well-known sports patron Manny V. Pangilinan, is seeking to run  against Cojuangco, whose 12-year tenure as head of the country’s leading sports body was marred by several controversies.
Observers even described Cojuangco as “over-staying and under-perfoming POC president.”
Fernandez also questioned the POC for receiving  funds from the previous PSC administration although the POC was already funded by the IOC (International Olympic Committee).
“The PSC as mandated by law is supposed to fund  only the athletes, coaches, and trainers for their training and  allowances -- and not  the POC and even the NSAs. But the previous PSC administration  even gave  funds to the POC.  And  to date, the POC has not liquidated these funds,” claimed Fernandez.
“Can any of you guys research on  how much does the IOC give to POC in the Olympics, Asian Games, SEA Games and other IF games as subsidy or whatever they call it?”
Based on reports, Frank  Elizalde said Vargas was disqualified  from running as POC president because  he only  attended one general assembly meeting in a span of two years.   
“As per records of attendance, I  regret to advise that they did not comply with the attendance in general assembly,” said Elizalde during the POC general assembly  held at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club yesterday.
Elizalde’s decision  was met by a  howl of protest  from Vargas, cycling president Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino and  former PBA commissioner Atty. Chito Salud.
“They’ve been there for 12 years. The problem  is that he’s not allowing us to run in the election. It’s very unreasonable. If you look at that rule, its only their group which would qualify (to run),” said Vargas, whose candidacy was also being endorsed by football president Nonong Araneta.
“That’s unfair. This is sport. We should face the fight. But  they (Cojuangco camp)  obviously don’t want to face us in a fair election,” said Tolentino, who was also disqualified for the same reason.
“But we will continue our fight for the betterment of Philippine sports,” added Tolentino, who was to run for chairmanship against  triathlon official Tom Carrasco.
“He (Vargas) has all the qualifications to run for POC president and  none of the disqualifications,” said Salud, who now serves as Vargas’ spokesman.
He said the term “active member” refers to the national sports association, with Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP), through executive director Ed Picson, regularly attending the general assembly meetings.
Elizalde disagreed.
“It is very clear that it is the individual that has to attend sufficient meetings. And I’m quoting from a  document that was not made yesterday or the day before, and has been on record for quite a few years, meaning that if you aspire to be a president or chairman of the POC, you have to attend the general  assemblies. It’s as simple as that.”
Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc.  commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy Jr., basketball and  boxing patron Lorenzo Sy also raised a howl of protest  to the decision of three-man POC election committee composed of   Elizalde,  Bernie Oca and Rep. Conrado Estrella (Abono Partylist).
“He (Cojuangco) should be embarrassed  to run  for reelection in POC against a worthy opponent  because of a technicality,” said  Tiukinhoy on an interview with Sun Star Cebu.
“He should fight fair and square based on his 12 years of accomplishments as POC president,” added Tiukinhoy, also the regional director  of  the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association   and  a  member of the board of directors  of the Philippine Weightlifting Association (PWA).
Said Sy: “Cojuangco’s leadership in the POC produced only one silver medal in the Olympics. Our NSAs are divided because there is too much politics in sports”
Cojuangco,  head  of equestrian  association, first ran as POC president in 2004. He  was re-elected for a second  straight term in 2008, beating   Art  Macapagal   by only two votes, 21-19  in a close election.