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CoA to POC: Settle P27M

Unimpressed Vargas says they will apply for TRO.

Boxing chief Ricky Vargas was unimpressed with the platform of Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco, who is seeking an unprecedented fourth term during the Nov. 25 elections at Wack Wack.

Vargas, disqualified from running owing to a technicality, showed up during yesterday’s candidates presentation at the POC Audio Visual Room at the Philsports in Pasig and left unmoved by Cojuangco’s brief speech that whirled around the same old things: strength and conditioning and stamina improvement.

“He just talked about sports science and his plan to bring in a Brazilian expert,” said Vargas after coming out of the two-hour affair.

Obviously, Vargas, who was not allowed to speak since he is not a legitimate candidate, was not satisfied with what he had just seen.

“I was expecting more from him but that was it,” said Vargas, who is being backed by a group of NSAs that are seeking to end the reign of the 82-year-old Cojuangco.

Cojuangco is running unopposed but the elections might not proceed if Vargas’ group secures a temporary restraining order (TRO).

“We are going to apply for one,” said Vargas, whose grandfather was the first POC head.

The TRO seeks to put on hold the elections until the disqualification is lifted, noted Vargas.

Vargas had promise to change the landscape of running the POC by focusing more on the athletes and getting rid of political patronage.

Meantime, the Commission on Audit (CoA) has ordered incumbent officials of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) to settle over R27 million that the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Philsoc) incurred as part of the expenses in the staging of the 2005 SEAG in Manila.

In a letter addressed to William ‘Butch’ Ramirez, chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), CoA supervising auditor Joycelyn Ramos and team leader Marieflor Tubana ordered POC president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco, secretary general Steve Hontiveros, deputy sec-gen Jose Capistrano Jr., and treasurer Ernesto Luis to follow the order.

Cojuangco served as the Chief Executive Officer during the 2005 SEAG while Hontiveros and Capistrano were also named for approving the transactions and Luis being the treasurer.

Reached for comment, Cojuangco vehemently denied any wrongdoing as no less than Conchita Carpio-Morales of the Ombudsman had cleared him of the same case this year.

“What is surprising is that another group filed this same case with the CoA,” said Cojuangco.

Last June, Hontiveros had written Ramos asking for a 90-day extension so they could complete the submission of documents that will support the spending of the P27 million.

However, the CoA responded a month later and insisted that the Philsoc officials have no choice but to settle the amount since the disallowance has already matured.

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