PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco was a no-show in a mediation meeting arranged by Philippine Sports Commission chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez for the rival groups in the POC elections on Wednesday.
Only Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (Abap) president Ricky Vargas was present at the PSC office in Manila for the meeting that Ramirez set up in order to find a solution to the controversy surrounding the POC election on Friday.
Cojuangco's camp has so far given no explanation to explain his no-show.
“Mr. Vargas showed up today as he was keen to take advantage of the offer made in good faith by Chairman Ramirez to help find a solution and a mutually acceptable way forward,” said Vargas’ spokesperson Chito Salud.
“Truly unfortunate. A wasted opportunity. Our athletes' welfare had been put aside yet again,” Salud added.
Controversy shrouded the POC election after Vargas was disqualified for running as president against Cojuangco by the POC election committee, who said the boxing chief has not met the requirements to be considered an 'active member' under the by-laws.
Vargas disagreed with the interpretation of the POC election committee on what an active member means, and has brought the issue to court where a decision on a petition for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the election is expected to come out on Thursday.
Salud said Vargas was thankful for Ramirez’s efforts to resolve the issue.
“He was in fact energized as it only confirmed his strong belief that for true sports leaders like Chairman Ramirez, nothing is more important than prioritizing, protecting and uplifting our athletes' overall welfare,” said Salud.
Vargas later issued a statement.
"I am saddened that the door for opportunities to move forward has been effectively shut by the absence of the other side. It is unfortunate that Mr. Cojuangco did not see it fit to honor the invitation of Mr. Ramirez whose only intention was to help find ways to resolve the issue at hand," he said.
"This refusal to sit down and collectively seek a resolution highlights the sorry attitude and culture of entitlement of the current POC leadership which has no place amongst sportmen and sports organizations. Now more than ever i present our team as a viable option to promote our athletes' welfare."