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Vargas KO’d

POC general assembly moves swiftly; DQ’s Cojuangco rival.

Boxing boss Ricky Vargas’ bid for the presidency of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has been junked by the election committee that made it clear during yesterday’s General Assembly that raised the key issue of absenteeism as prime reason for his disqualification.

Election panel head Frank Elizalde likewise disqualified cycling head Bambol Tolentino’s candidacy for chairman owing to the same reason even as supposed runningmate Ting Ledesma of table-tennis for auditor formally withdrew his candidacy.

Only the candidacies of Rep. Albee Benitez of badminton for 1st VP, Lucas Managuelod of Muay for 2nd VP and Sonny Barrios of basketball for treasurer were upheld.

Benitez will be up against incumbent Joey Romasanta, while Managuelod will challenge Jeff Tamayo of soft tennis and Barrios against Julian Camacho of wushu.

The elections will be held on Nov. 25 with Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco cruising to his fourth term.

Elizalde noted that Vargas, who has vowed to change the landscape of Philippine sports, was not an active member of the POC GA the past few years, having skipped the bi-monthly.

“As per records of attendance, they did not comply with these attendance requirements. They did not participate in GAs to a great extent,” said Elizalde, formerly the long-time International Olympic Committee (IOC) representative to the Philippines.

The last time Vargas attended the GA was last year and Elizalde insists that under Article 7 and Section 11 of the POC by-laws, Vargas doesn’t meet the standard.

But boxing secretary general Patrick Gregorio, who attended yesterday, maintained that while Vargas didn’t grace the meetings, the association was an active member.

Gregorio says the fight isn’t over as his group is filing a protest with the POC and even seek other legal remedies to prove their point.

“We’ve been very active as an association. We’ve won medals, participated in tournaments and took part in official functions (of the POC),” said Gregorio, who represented Vargas.

Vargas could not attend as he was in Tokyo with Manny V. Pangilinan during the state visit of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The POC has 44 voting members, 41 NSA heads, two from the athletes’ commission (Hidilyn Diaz and Henry Dagmil) and one from Mikee Cojuangco being the current IOC representative to the Philippines.

“Hopefully people learn from this,” said Elizalde, stressing that getting ready for the POC election is not a last-minute decision.

“Anybody who is thinking of running should think two years ahead.”