Ricky Vargas camp cries foul after disqualification to run for POC top post upheld by committee
Chito Salud says Ricky Vargas has no other option but to take his disqualification to court after the POC Comelec denied their appeal. Jerome Ascano

RICKY Vargas’ camp cried foul after the Philippine Olympic Committee’s Commission on Elections denied their appeal against the boxing chief’s disqualification from the POC presidential election, as per the election committee’s resolution released on Monday.

Chito Salud, spokesperson of ABAP president Vargas, blasted the POC Comelec’s denial of their motion for consideration as ‘narrow-minded and simplistic.’ But he went on to say the their camp will carry on in implementing change in the POC leadership.

“The narrow-minded and simplistic interpretation of the rules on eligibility is in many ways not surprising. It only validates our belief that the time for change has come. It is but unfortunate that change will once again have to be wrested from, rather than guided and ushered in by enlightened leaders we in the sports community sorely miss,” Salud said in the statement issued Monday. ??

“But it has to be done, and it will be done. With the support of the very athletes whose welfare is the sole, paramount driving force of our efforts and with malice toward no one, Ricky Vargas shall carry on this relentless quest for change,”

The POC Comelec upheld their decision to disqualify Vargas from running for the POC President post against Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco based on the contentious ‘active member’ clause in the POC By-Laws required for candidates.

In their resolution, the election committee insisted that Vargas attended just one out of the last 20 meetings of the General Assembly from February to May 2016, which does not make him an ‘active member’ eligible to run for the top post of the POC.

“The Commission finds Mr. Vargas’ record of attendance to be way short of the requirement of active membership in the General Assembly prescribed under Section II, Article VII of the POC By-Laws,” said the resolution signed by election committee chairman Frank Elizalde.

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But Salud insisted that this interpretation was unreasonable and myopic, especially since the POC By-Laws do not clearly define what an active member is.

“The election committee failed and refused to see the merits of the arguments raised by Mr Vargas. It has chosen to stick to its myopic and unreasonable interpretation of ‘active member.’ The POC by-laws do not contain any definition of ‘active member’ nor any clear guidelines to determine active membership,” he said.

“By insisting on attendance and physical presence in the general assembly as the sole measure of a candidate's activity, the election committee is arbitrarily placing a restriction on eligibility where the rules provide none. The election committee in effect arrogates unto itself the power to amend the POC by-laws without the approval of the member-NSAs,” he added.

Salud also shared that their next course of action is to take the issue to court.

“Mr. Vargas will seek redress in the courts of law. He wants an objective and authoritative interpretation of this indistinct eligibility requirement,” he said.

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