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The Bambol and Popoy Show

Cycling president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino has declared to run. Athletics chief Philip “Popoy” Juico says he will consult his family before making a decision.

Still, the emergency elections in the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) that pundits expect would eventually pit both men for president of the nation’s Olympic agency became real on Monday.

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The POC executive board, led by acting president Joey Romasanta, has appointed an independent election committee to supervise the emergency polls to be witnessed by observers from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) at Manila Golf Club on July 28.

Former Commission on Elections commissioner Rene Sarmiento will lead the committee of three in running the voting to fill the POC leadership vacuum created by the formal resignation of POC president Ricky Vargas and chair Tolentino along with board members Clint Aranas of archery and Cynthia Carreon of gymnastics.

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The composition of the “elecom” will have to be ratified by the POC general assembly (GA) in an extraordinary meeting on July 18.

At first, Aranas, who resigned recently as head of the government’s pension fund, was the front-runner for POC chief.

But an Inquirer source said due to a technicality, he became less desirable as a candidate, sparking the POC board majority to turn their support to Juico.

(Ed’s note: The Inquirer broke a story on Aranas’ lack of eligibility to run for the POC presidency on the grounds that he lacks the prescribed period of time that a candidate needs to serve as head of an Olympic sport NSA, or national sport association).

Juico was formerly chair of the Philippine Sports Commission and agrarian reform secretary in the Cory Aquino administration.

Tolentino, now a Cavite congressman, was a longtime mayor of Tagaytay City. He is said to be backed by Vargas and the MVP group of companies that supports several sports.

As I write this, the same source who has started crunching numbers said if Juico declares now, he possibly will garner the backing of 15 voting members of the GA immediately.

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At this point in time, Tolentino can count on 10 supporters out of the 45 voters composed of NSA presidents, two athletes’ representatives and Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski, the IOC representative to the Philippines.

It will take 23 votes to win as POC chief to serve the remainder of Vargas’ unfinished term.

Reported to be eyeing the position of POC chair are Steve Hontiveros of handball, Monico Puentevella of weightlifting and Robert Aventajado of taekwondo.

Vargas, perhaps not fully recovered from the sticker shock of his emotionally expensive resignation, said in a letter to the GA that he was prepared to attend the POC board meeting last Monday but did not go after the IOC asked resigned officials to skip the event.

“I had hoped to be of help in clarifying several issues currently confronting the POC, but I will accept the advise from the IOC-OCA not to be at the said meeting, he said.

Charlie Ho, acting POC secretary general, earlier told a radio interviewer that the problems of the POC “centered on the relationship and agreement that Vargas entered into with the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee Foundation.”

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TAGS: Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, Philip “Popoy” Juico, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC)
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