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As POC eyes SEAG control, president questioned

The new leadership of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) wants to seize control of the organization of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

But its president, Joey Romasanta, may have to hurdle a question of legitimacy first.

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“If possible, I would like to revert to the original formula that the POC will run the [SEA] Games,” said Romasanta a day after replacing Ricky Vargas, who stepped down as the country’s local Olympic chief.

Romasanta’s ascension as president, however, faces a challenge from POC chair Abraham Tolentino, who will call for a special elections when the board convenes a special general assembly on June 25.

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Tolentino asserts that Romasanta, the vice president of the volleyball association, is not qualified to sit as president based on Article 7, Section 6 of the POC’s bylaws that states that only an incumbent president of an Olympic sport-NSA (national sport association) can head the Olympic body.

Romasanta’s plan for the POC to seize control of the hosting organization of the SEA Games could force a restructure of a committee already headed by Taguig City Rep.-elect Alan Peter Cayetano.

“The board resolved that Phisgoc (Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee) should be organized as a committee. We’re still looking into it and doing a careful study,” said Romasanta, the longtime right-hand man of former three-term POC chief, Peping Cojuangco Jr.

“The POC will run [the SEA Games organization while] the logistical requirements and funding source will come from the PSC (Philippine Sports Commission),” Romasanta said.

Under Vargas, Phisgoc chaired by Cayetano functioned as a body tasked to oversee the overall organization of the Games set on Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

As this developed, Cayetano said he welcomed the new leadership of the POC but hoped that the SEA Games preparations should proceed as is, saying “… the change in [POC] leadership should not affect the organizing of the SEA Games.”

“I want to remind everyone that this is for our country. Nobody will respect us if we play around,” Cayetano added.

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“Hopefully, we meet with Congressman Cayetano and the Phisgoc organization on how we can effect a transition or transformation in what they have now into a committee,” Romasanta said. —WITH A REPORT FROM DJ YAP

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TAGS: 30th Southeast Asian Games, Joey Romasanta, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC)
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