JOEY Romasanta, a Philippine Olympic Committee vice president under 12-year chief Jose 'Peping' Cojuangco, welcomed the candidacy of Ricky Vargas, the first to challenge the incumbent POC president in eight years.
Cojuangco, seeking a fourth term as head of the national Olympic body, faces a worthy challenger in Vargas when the elections takes place on November 25.
"Nobody is preventing anyone from running for office," said Romasanta, who is also seeking another term as first vice president.
Cojuangco will be challenged for the highest position in the POC for the first time since the late Art Macapagal launched a bid for presidency in 2008. Macapagal lost by a slim margin, 21-19.
Vargas filed his candidacy at the Philsports complex on Monday, while the Cojuangco camp submitted their certificates of candidacy last week.
Romasanta declined to mention the members of their ticket, but it is widely expected that the slate will have Jeff Tamayo of soft tennis, who will be seeking the post as second vice president once again.
Tom Carrasco of triathlon (chairman), Julian Camacho of wushu (treasurer), and Jonne Go of canoe kayak (auditor) have also submitted their certificates of candidacy and are expected to run under the ticket of Cojuangco.
The candidates' eligibility to run for office in the POC elections will be scrutinized by the election committee of Abono party list Rep. Conrado Estrella, former International Olympic Committee representative to the Philippines Frank Elizalde, and La Salle's Bernie Oca.
Representatives of than 40 national sports associations will elect the officers of the POC that will hold office until 2020.