Elizalde allays fears of IOC suspension over alleged 'government intervention' in POC polls 
POC election committee head Frank Elizalde and president Peping Cojuangco didn't speak to each other during the re-election won by Ricky Vargas on Friday. Jerome Ascano

FORMER International Olympic Committee (IOC) representative to the Philippines Frank Elizalde said he believes the move by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) to follow a court order for a re-election doesn't constitute government intervention.

The camp of former POC president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco has warned about possible suspension from the IOC after an election committee headed by Elizalde followed the order of a Pasig court and let Ricky Vargas and Tagaytay City Rep. Abraham Tolentino run in a re-election.

Government intervention is frowned upon by the IOC, which in the past has suspended national Olympic bodies if proven that the government intervened in its affairs.

Elizalde, however, said no such thing happened in the POC polls on Thursday that saw Vargas beat Cojuangco, 24-15, to end the latter's 13-year reign as head of the Olympic body.

“In my legal, non-expert opinion, there is no government intervention in this case because we are dealing with a judicial procedure, a court case, and nobody, the Philippine Olympic Committee, or anybody else in this country is beyond the dictates of the law and the legal authorities of this country,” Elizalde said after the POC elections.

Interestingly, Elizalde and Cojuangco didn’t speak to each other when Elizalde entered the Westside Grill at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club to oversee the elections.

”You have all types of government intervention, government attempts to interfere, then yes (there is government intervention). But in this particular case, no. That is my opinion,” said Elizalde.

Observers believed the former POC chief will challenge the result of the election before the IOC, which Elizalde said is Cojuangco’s decision to make.

“That’s his prerogative. I better not comment on the results,” said Elizalde.

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