A DAY after a heated debate among top sports officials regarding Philippine Olympic Committee elections broke out, the legal counsel of the country's top Olympic body admitted its by-laws are not clear with regards to the qualifications of a presidential candidate.
Article 7, Section 11 of the POC by-laws states that “The chairman and the president of the POC must have had at least four years experience as NSA president of an Olympic sport at the time of his election as POC chairman or president; provided, that they must be elected from any of the incumbent NSA presidents representing an Olympic sport, and provided, further, that they have been an active member of the POC general assembly for two consecutive years at the time of their election.”
POC legal counsel Atty. Mon Malinao admitted that the term “active member” isn’t clear.
“Walang exact definition as to what an active member is. Kung magkakaroon ng exact definition, we need to consult the corporation code,” said Malinao in Thursday’s POC radio program on DZSR Sports Radio 918.
Malinao said that the POC has not encountered this kind of issue in previous elections, but is now the subject of a debate ahead of the next poll set November with former boxing association chief Manny Lopez rumored to be interested in challenging Jose 'Peping' Cojuangco for the presidency.
“Siguro ngayon lang lumabas ’yung mga legal issues because we are speculating about who is going to run. It’s an issue that should be taken into consideration,” Malinao said.
The issue was brought up during a heated exchange between POC first vice-president Lopez and other sports officials in Wednesday’s expanded board meeting.
Chef de mission in the recent London Olympics, Lopez currently does not hold the top position in an NSA but is vice- president of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines and secretary-general of the handball federation.
Lopez opposed the POC board’s plan to approve among themselves new election guidelines — including the qualifications of candidates — saying it should be the general assembly which should decide on it.
Cojuangco has been POC chief since 2004 and is seeking a third and final term.