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Building back the POC rubble

/ 05:35 AM June 28, 2019

Someone has to rebuild from the rubble at the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).

It won’t be interim president Joey Romasanta for sure.

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Romasanta, first vice president of the country’s Olympic body, replaced president Ricky Vargas when the business executive resigned unexpectedly last week, citing “corporate responsibilities and family sentiment.”

Vargas, who suspected Romasanta and the majority in the POC executive board of colluding to oust him, has kept quiet and held his peace since—but not POC board chair Abraham Tolentino.

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The POC’s rule of succession puts Romasanta in command, but since Joey is not an incumbent head of a national sport association, Tolentino questioned his legitimacy as president.

His leadership under a cloud, and with Tolentino calling for a special POC election during an extraordinary general assembly (GA) meeting on Tuesday, Romasanta joined the chair and all members of the executive board—except three—in a mass resignation.

Romasanta and company, including Vargas’ predecessor, former POC president Peping Cojuangco, resigned to end the agency’s leadership conflict, leaving all positions vacant and paving the way for a snap election on July 5.

“We need fresh faces and new ideas in the POC. We cannot go on like this forever,” an exasperated Romasanta, who said he will not run for any position, told Inquirer sports reporter June Navarro.

A new set of officers will finish the term of Vargas and the current board, according to Tolentino, now possibly the lone wolf in a very public squabble with the executive board majority.

But billiards president Robert Mananquil, absent along with Prospero Pichay of chess and POC second vice president Jeff Tamayo during the GA, said he will weigh his options first.

“Emotions reigned supreme at the GA Tuesday. People were not thinking straight,” Mananquil said. “I already know of one board member recalling her resignation and I expect more to do so.”

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A source at the POC also questioned the legality of Tolentino’s actions and the mass resignation since these were not done and recorded officially first in a regularly scheduled board meeting before being raised in the GA.

The source noted that Tolentino, who tends to ram things through without regard to parliamentary procedures, also resigned on Tuesday. “So how can he sign a memo and call for a snap election?”

The man Romasanta replaced as director of the fruitful Gintong Alay project formally takes his oath as Laoag City mayor on Saturday.

Michael Keon, an ex-governor of Ilocos Norte, and his cousin—Sen.-elect Imee Marcos—will be among incoming congressional and provincial officials and town mayors in a mass swearing-in in nearby Batac town.

Also present will be Supreme Court Justice Diosdado Peralta and Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, both Laoag natives.

Quevedo will officiate during a 7 a.m. Mass at Immaculate Conception Parish Church. Peralta will induct Keon and company at the town square following church services.

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