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    Peping Cojuangco, allies removed from key committees in POC 'purge'

    May 27, 2019
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    THE feud within the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) came to a head during the general assembly on Monday when a fed-up Ricky Vargas purged dissenting officials from key committees in the organization.

    POC president Vargas ordered the removal of former POC chief Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco as chairman of the constitution and bylaws committee and squash president Robert Bachmann as head of the membership committee.

    Monsour Del Rosario, chief of mission for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, and POC first vice-president Joey Romasanta, chief of mission for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, were also removed from their post by Vargas.

    Vargas rose to power by ending Cojuangco's long reign as POC president, but he has long complained that his move for reforms in the country's highest Olympic body is being derailed by officials still loyal to Cojuangco.

    Apparently, he simply got fed up.

    Fireworks were expected in the general assembly due to some quarters in the POC questioning the incorporation of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) Foundation, which was given authority by Vargas to handle the hosting of the SEA Games without the knowledge of the POC board.

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    Another issue raised was the alleged overpricing of supplies from Asics, which was contracted as the official outfitter of Team Philippines in the 2019 SEA Games.

    The issues were expected to be raised during the general assembly, but it ended prematurely following the removal of the committee heads.

    Prior to the general assembly, a POC board meeting was held on April 30 where members of the board raised concerns about giving the Phisgoc Foundation the authority to take over the hosting of the SEA Games. Vargas was not present in the said board meeting.

    Another meeting was held on Saturday by NSA officials which was described by the POC as “unauthorized.”

    Romasanta, however, insisted the removal isn’t valid because it was not the decision of the general assembly.

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    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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