To the consternation of Philippine Sports Comission chair Butch Ramirez and amateur boxing head Ricky Vargas, Philippine Olympic Committee president Peping Cojuangco snubbed a meeting called to help solve the issues and controversies plaguing local sports at the moment.
In a statement sent to People’s Journal, Vargas said he was “saddened that the door for opportunities to move forward has been effectively shut by the absence of the other side (Cojuangco).”
“It is unfortunate that Mr. Cojuangco did not see it fit to honor the invitation of Mr. Ramirez whose only intention was to help find ways to resolve the issue at hand,” said Vargas.
Vargas was disqualified to run against Cojuangco in the elections set tomorrow, with the election committee chaired by former IOC representative to the Philippines Frank Elizalde ruling that boxing chief did not meet the requirements of an active POC member needed to be able to run for office.
The other day, Ramirez offered to mediate for the two warring groups, saying he’s afraid that the country might be suspended by the International Olympic Committee.
”This refusal to sit down and collectively seek a resolution highlights the sorry attitude and culture of entitlement of the current POC leadership which has no place amongst sportmen and sports organizations,” said Vargas.
“Now more than ever I present our team as a viable option to promote our athletes’ welfare.”
Vargas attended the meeting which Ramirez arranged at the PSC office inside the Rizal Memorial Complex.
“As chairman of the PSC, I offered the two groups to meet in my office on neutral ground, meet, and talk like gentlemen,” said Ramirez.
“For the sake of our country, athletes, and children, I’m offering this before the POC can be suspended, a last-ditch effort for the sake of the country, athletes, and children.”
Vargas sought a TRO from the Pasig Regional Trial Court, optimistic the court will decide on his favor.
Chito Salud, spokesperson for the camp of Vargas, said Pasig RTC Judge Elma Lingan heard the oral arguments of Vargas as well as the POC last Tuesday where she also asked both camps to submit their respective position papers.
“They [Vargas camp] are optimistic that the court had been sufficiently enlightened as to the necessity of issuing a TRO to prevent grave and irreparable damage to their rights,” Salud, also a former commissioner of the PBA, said.
A decision is set to be released on the eve of Friday’s POC elections where, unless a TRO is issued, Cojuangco is set to get a fourth term as president unopposed after Vargas was disqualified.
Salud said the arguments revolved around the interpretation of ’active member’ under the POC bylaws, which the election committee cited when it disqualified boxing chief Vargas from running as president of the POC.
The ‘active member’ clause was interpreted by the POC election committee as his attendance in general assembly meeting which the boxing chief didn’t meet.
Vargas, however, said the term ‘active member’ is vague and can be interpreted in different ways.