PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco insisted there was nothing political in the disqualification of presidential candidate Ricky Vargas from the November 25 polls.
In a radio interview, Cojuangco said the POC election committee was merely following the rules and regulations of the POC as to the conduct of the polls that has been set since 2008.
Cojuangco said those same rules eight years ago were even signed by representatives from basketball, boxing, and cycling national sports associations (NSAs) connected with the Vargas camp.
“There are very simple qualifications required for the POC. This is a ruling or provision that was approved by the POC, SEC, and the IOC (International Olympic Committee). This was already implemented way back in 2008 kaya hindi naman bago ‘to,” said Cojuangco in an interview with DZSR Sports Radio.
On Wednesday, Vargas was disqualified from running for the POC presidency by an election committee headed by former IOC representative Frank Elizalde, who ruled the Maynilad executive didn’t meet the requirements for him to be eligible to run for the polls.
According to Article 7, Section 11 of the POC charter, the president and chairman must be an “active member of the POC general assembly for two consecutive years at the time of their election.”
The election committee said Vargas only attended a general assembly once during the two-year period.
Philcycling president and Cavite Rep. Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino was also disqualified as a candidate for chairman under the Vargas ticket for the same reason that he 'was not an active member of the POC general assembly.'
The Vargas camp, however, had a different interpretation as to what is an “active member,” saying the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (Abap) has been active in their programs and has been attending general assemblies through a representative.
For his part, POC first vice president Joey Romasanta believed the Vargas camp is well-aware of the by-laws, citing the candidacy of Tolentino in 2008 as chairman.
“They competed with these rules. Hindi ka naman sasali kung hindi mo alam. Hindi naman ito kahapon lang lumabas,” said Romasanta.