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Senate hearing probes POC

Sports leaders from the government-run Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the privately-operated Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) will walk the tightrope this morning during a hearing that will be presided over by Senate sports committee chair Manny Pacquiao.

The inquiry, in aid of legislation, intends to delve on the alleged unliquidated funds released by the PSC to the POC to help in the staging of the 2005 Southeast Asian Games.

Apart from money matters, also to be discussed before main guests PSC chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez and POC president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco, will be the alleged unjust imposition of eligibility requirements for the candidates for this Friday’s POC elections.

Ricky Vargas, the chief of the boxing association whose candidacy was junked by the POC election panel owing to a technicality, is expected to show up as well.

Vargas’ group is hoping that a TRO will be issued in time so it could be served and prevent an election from taking place at Wack Wack.

Vargas is contesting that the POC’s eligibility requirements were not clearly defined, allowing the incumbent to keep a stranglehold on their respective posts.

Also attending are POC chairman Tom Carrasco, POC first VP Joey Romasanta, cycling boss Bambol Tolentino and supporters of each group.

Ramirez, while making it clear that he will respect and support the winner of the elections, had expressed his disappointment that Cojuangco will run unopposed as a challenger would have provided a healthy environment.

Still, Ramirez maintains that the PSC will prioritize the welfare of the athletes over the officials as mandated by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The instruction of the President is clear and that is to make sure the athletes are taken care of,” said Ramirez.