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Mikee Romero, the new PBA chairman and team owner of the Globalport Batang Pier, added his voice to the growing demand for change in the leadership of the Philippine Olympic Committee asking that the POC hold a democratic election “for the sake of Philippine sports.”
“It’s time to overhaul the POC, overhaul the Philippine sports,” he said. “Maawa tayo sa Philippine sports.”
Romero, also a first-term congressman representing the party list 1-Pacman and chairman of the House Committee on Sports, deviated from his speech at the press conference announcing the opening of the 42nd season of the PBA yesterday and said he wanted to see an election held to choose the next POC president.
“It’s time for change, let the democratic process find its own path, let it flow,” he said, obviously seeking a new leadership for the POC.
Romero has joined the clamor for a POC election that will include other candidates who have been disqualified under a controversial provision that required the candidates to have near-perfect attendance in POC general assembly meetings.
Disqualified by the POC election committee were boxing’s Ricky Vargas, a candidate for president, and cycling’s Bambol Tolentino, a candidate for chairman.
Lawyers for Vargas and Tolentino were reported to be preparing to file a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) before the courts to stop the election and to allow the two candidates to run.
However, if the TRO is denied, the POC will hold its election on Nov. 25 with Jose Cojuangco Jr. running unopposed.
Cojuangco, 82, is seeking a fourth straight four-year term to lead the POC.
Meanwhile, at the Senate, a resolution has been filed by Sen. Sonny Angara for the Committee on Sports headed by Sen. Manny Pacquiao to hold a public hearing and to summon POC officials to explain the unliquidated funds amounting to over R120 million given by the Philippine Sports Commission to the POC for the country’s participation in various international competitions from 2006-2016.
The resolution also asked the committee to look at what Angara said was the “unjust imposition of eligibility requirements for candidates for POC president.”
Romero said that he is speaking both as member of congress and the PBA family saying the league is a stakeholder of the Sama-hang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) headed by Al Panlilio, a PBA board member representing Meralco.
“For me, it’s time to overhaul the POC, enough is enough,” he said.