In need of ‘fresh faces,’ POC sets special elections next week
Philippine sports will again see an abrupt change of leadership in the Philippine Olympic Committee.
Members of the POC executive board led by interim president Joey Romasanta and chairman Abraham Tolentino resigned en masse on Tuesday, leaving all positions vacant and opening the door for a snap election within the local Olympic body on July 5.
Tolentino called for the elections after questioning the legitimacy of Romasanta, who, as a rule of succession, replaced former POC president Ricky Vargas following the latter’s unexpected resignation last week.
With the coaxing of some of the general assembly members composed of all sports associations under the wings of the POC, executive board members tendered their resignation except for three board members—Prospero Pichay of chess, Robert Mananquil of billiards and 2nd vice president Jeff Tamayo—who were not around during the gathering at the GSIS head office.
“The board will function in a holdover capacity until the elections. As for the three board members (Tamayo, Pichay and Mananquil), we will ask them if they want to resign,’’ said Tolentino, who made it clear that the new set of officers will just serve the unfinished term of Vargas and the current board.
Romasanta, who took over the functions of Vargas, said he’s qualified to seek the POC presidency but would rather not run for any position during the polls set at the Golden Bay restaurant in Pasay City.
“This is something I think should be done. We need fresh faces and new ideas in the POC. We cannot go on like this forever,’’ said Romasanta. “I am qualified, but I have always declared that I am not running for any position.’’
Aside from Tolentino and Romasanta, those who declared to step down were POC treasurer Julian Camacho of wushu, auditor Jonne Go of canoe-kayak and dragonboat, board members Cynthia Carrion of gymnastics and Clint Aranas of archery and former POC president Peping Cojuangco.
“This is a call for unity. The faster we can hold an election, the faster we can unify and regroup,’’ said Aranas, considered by many as a strong candidate for the POC presidency.
Aranas, president and general manager of the Government Service Insurance System, said the coming polls would not affect the preparations of the national athletes in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
“I don’t think this will affect the SEA Games. The athletes are focused on their training and the preparations are ongoing,’’ said Aranas.
Once the POC executive board convenes within the week, it will formally appoint former International Olympic Committee representative Frank Elizalde to head the election committee.
Elizalde will then handpick the two other members of his committee and set the election guidelines. The candidates must file their certificate of candidacy, which should be approved by the election committee before they can run for an elective position.
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