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Vargas’ POC slate loses one key NSA

Ting, table tennis chief, withdraws from ticket.

Table-tennis head Ting Ledesma personally went to the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) headquarters yesterday to withdraw his candidacy for auditor, saying he didn’t give the group of presidential aspirant Ricky Vargas the consent to include his name.

“I don’t even know Vic, uh, Ricky Vargas,” Ledesma told Tempo-Bulletin after dropping by the POC to submit a letter asking that his name be excluded.

The letter was addressed to Frank Elizalde, chairman of the three-man committee tasked to handle the conduct of the elections set Nov. 25.

Last Monday, Vargas, who heads the boxing association, went to the POC to formally file his candidacy for president joined by running mates, cycling chief Bambol Tolentino, Lucas Managuelod of Muay and Sonny Barrios of basketball.

Ledesma said he was in Indonesia competing in a tournament when Vargas and his party went to the POC to submit their certificates of candidacies.

“Somebody contacted me last Saturday when I was already in Indonesia asking me if I am interested in supporting Mr. Vargas and I said yes but I didn’t think it was for the purpose of running under his banner,” said Ledesma.

“I said yes because I was thinking of my sport as getting support from them,” said Ledesma, insisting that he wants no part of any election other than to vote.

“The only thing that I want in an election is for me to (cast my) vote,” he added.

Vargas is hoping that the three-man election panel reviewing the candidates will allow him to run despite his apparent inability to meet the requirement of being an active member of the bi-monthly General Assembly.

This year alone, Vargas has skipped the POC GAs and instead assigned executive director Ed Picson to represent him.

Backed by Manny V. Pangilinan, the 64-year-old Vargas is running to end the 12-year reign of Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco, promising the NSAs that he will change the landscape of how the POC deals with them in close coordination with the Philippine Sports Commission.

Vargas’ mates believe that it will be unreasonable if he is not given the chance to run because of a slight infraction.

Vargas maintains that their group will gain more supporters in the coming days when the clamor for him to challenge Cojuangco gets louder, adding that majority of the NSAs are afraid to speak out for fear of earning the ire of the veteran Tarlac politician.

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