‘Cojuangco snaking back to rule POC’
There’s a legal mess brewing over the Philippine Olympic Committee that threatens to impede, curtail or usurp the overall role of POC president Ricky Vargas in the hosting of this year’s Southeast Asian Games.
The problem raged behind the scene and has caused Vargas to be pressured and pushed following a special meeting of the POC Executive Board, Inc. at GSIS Finance Center Building last April 30.
In that meeting, the POC Executive Board, composed of Cojuangco’s old power bloc, severely questioned the incorporation of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc).
The main point raised: “Why was Phisgoc incorporated to prepare for and organize the 30th SEA Games when such function is already vested in the POC?”
“Why did the president, secretary general and communications director join the incorporators of the Phisgoc?”
It was noted in the April 30 special board meeting that Phisgoc’s purposes clearly usurp that of the POC on the preparation for the organization of the 30th SEA Games.
There were other serious matters raised, including grant of broadcast rights, utilization of private sponsorship, assignment of government funds, authorities of disbursement and expenses for the Games.
In the special meeting, the Executive Board, claiming it has no intent to remove or oust Vargas, directed the POC president to explain in writing (in five days) the “serious concerns brought up.”
Meanwhile, a responsible individual in the POC office (who prefers to remain anonymous) said it was quite clear Peping Cojuangco, who lost to Vargas in a previous court-ordered poll, was mainly behind this plot. He said these matters were scheduled to be addressed in the regular Board Meeting which was to take place after the May 13 elections.
“But for reasons of their own, the group of Cojuangco et al decided to preempt the said meeting and instead issued baseless insinuations of wrongdoing,” the POC source said.
What is their motivation?
“Their objective is to wrest control and render president Vargas a lame duck so they can have their way and rule over POC, as they did prior to 2016,” the source explained. “Vargas is disappointed because many of them have access to him. If they had issues, why didn’t they talk to him, why meet and plot behind his back?”
He added: “There was no violation of POC constitution and by-laws. The organization of these Games, including the SEA Games, Asian Games, even the Olympics, have historically been entrusted to an organization outside of the host Olympic Committee. Besides, if there was something irregular about Phisgoc, the first body who would have raised an objection is the SEA Games Federation, which owns the SEA Games. There was no question raised whatsoever about Phisgoc in all meetings here and abroad.”
The POC source further clarified that “the hosting cannot be the exclusive territory of a single entity. The magnitude of responsibilities needs to be shared by the POC, PSC, Phisgoc, as well as the private sector, this being the most practical way.”
Most importantly, President Duterte has thrown his full support to the Games and Phisgoc itself, the source stressed.
“If the President of the Republic himself has recognized the partnership among the POC, PSC and Phisgoc, is there any reason to doubt the propriety of the partnership?” the source asked.
Preparations for the hosting of the SEA Games later this year are in full swing.
The POC has taken responsibility insofar as the conduct of the Games and preparation of athletes. The PSC is in charge of funding and training, equipment and foreign exposure of athletes and is primed to dispatch its role as disbursing agency for government funds allocated to the Games.
Vargas’ only fault, the source said, was in being too kind and nice to Cojuangco, whom he graciously decided to retain as part of the Executive Board, despite uselessness and a dirty track record.
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