PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas proposed to hold early elections but promised that he will do everything to stop 'dark forces' from regaining control of the country's highest sports body.
In his speech during a heated POC general assembly, Vargas moved that an election be held in January 2020, or immediately after the Southeast Asian Games, instead of after the Olympics as has been the practice in the past.
“In January of 2020, right after the SEA Games, let us hold early POC elections for all elective positions,” Vargas said. “Yes, I suggest we no longer wait for the Olympics as was the tradition and have elections instead this coming January.”
Vargas said he will not run in that election and instead will support candidates who will be fighting for reforms in the POC.
“And I declare now, I will not run in that election,” said Vargas, who stripped officials allied with former POC chief Jose 'Peping' Cojuangco of key positions during the heated meeting at Max's Restaurant in Pasig City.
“But I will campaign hard for deserving candidates who will fight for reforms and good governance in the POC. I will still be here if needed, but I am done with the politics.”
Vargas, who ended Cojuangco's long reign as POC president, vowed he will not allow previous leadership to regain control of Philippine sports.
“I will let you in on a secret- I am no saint. But I will be damned if I will allow Philippine sports to go back to its dark days," Vargas said. "However, I have determined that this kind of politically-charged environment is not in my DNA."
"I have no problem with disagreements, I am used to that in the corporate world. But the culture in the POC has been so corrupted and tainted that disagreements are conducted in disagreeable and disgusting ways such as secret meetings, plotting and scheming, complete with black propaganda," he added.
“Perhaps there are people who would be more effective in rebuilding such a culture. I will campaign hard for them in the election. We really need to bring back decency in the POC and I hope you will make the right choices,” said Vargas.
Vargas also criticized the former POC leadership for the many 'debacles' the country had to endure in international competition during their time in charge.
“Remember the word “debacle"? Not too long ago, it always accompanied headline news of our performance in international competitions: “Asian Games Debacle”, SEA Games Debacle”, “Olympics Debacle”, debacle this and debacle that.
“The word debacle even became a hot topic of discussion in this very general assembly. The POC leadership then, including the very same personalities who are questioning me now, tried vainly through so many creative means to soften the impact of the word debacle.
“We have not seen or heard the word “debacle” recently, have we?”