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Coup attempts versus Vargas belied

/ 05:10 AM April 18, 2019

The bad blood between Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas and the majority in the agency’s executive board spilled into the open last week.

POC vice president Joey Romasanta, speaking for the nine other executive board members who are holdovers from the previous administration—insisted the other day that NO coups are afoot to oust Vargas and called the suggestion absurd.

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Romasanta was responding to a claim made by Vargas at a Philippine Sportswriters Association forum that he is facing “numerous” tries from within the board to unseat him.

Vargas did not elaborate but said in so many words that the culture of mudslinging and intrigue in the POC board makes him uncomfortable.

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“We’d like to move forward, seeing to it that the culture changes into a more transparent, more honest and less political organization,” he told the sportswriters’ forum.

Vargas and Cavite Rep. Abraham Tolentino won in a court-ordered elections last year to end the 13-year term of Jose Cojuangco Jr. but inherited a board fiercely loyal to the former Tarlac congressman.

“The serious and unfounded concerns” aired by Vargas and board chair Tolentino “are best addressed and clarified before the POC executive board and not anywhere else,” Romasanta told me in a text message.

“The POC board in all of its deliberations has always been mindful of the primary interests and the general membership, our athletes, and the POC as an institution and as a member of the Olympic movement.”

Romasanta bristled at coup statements from Vargas and his communications director, Edgar Picson, calling them “sweeping.”

Votes of confidence or no confidence and to remove any POC official do not happen within the board. They are the calls of the regular voting members of the general assembly, according to Romasanta. “Such moves are not happening period.”

No matter, Picson said: “We don’t really know what they (the board majority) are up to. But they are regularly plotting and scheming to undermine Vargas’ leadership.”

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A blue-ribbon dinner crowd of 1500 expected to be led by President Duterte and his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, will witness the so-called Thrilla in Davao—a world heavyweight boxing championship bout pitting American contender Ron Johnson and WBC cruiserweight champion Zhiyu Wu of China on June 16.

The card, a presentation of Global Boxing Organization—the new kid in the boxing sanctioning block—is promoted by Filipino businessman Reynaldo Rodis.

It’s scheduled at Azuela Cove in Lanang, Davao City’s business district, reported former sports columnist and WBO executive Fred Lumba.

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TAGS: Coup attempts, Joey Romasanta, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), Ricky Vargas
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