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Vargas ‘optimistic’ in TRO bid

Whether the Pasig Regional Trial Court will issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) from proceeding with its elections on Friday will be known tomorrow, the legal counsel of boxing chief Ricky Vargas said yesterday.

Lawyer Chito Salud said Judge Elma Lingan heard the sides of Vargas and that of the POC and both parties were asked to submit their position papers today so an order can be made.

In a statement released late yesterday afternoon, Salud pointed out that the “legal arguments centered on the correct interpretation of the eligibility requirement of being an active member (of the POC).”

Vargas was disqualified to challenge incumbent POC president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco owing to a technicality as the POC election panel cited a rule that a presidential aspirant should be an active member.

Being an active member entails an NSA president of an Olympic sport to be a regular participant of the bi-monthly POC General Assembly.

Because of his many commitments, Vargas was unable to meet that standard.

Vargas and cycling head Abraham Tolentino, who was also banned from running as POC chairman owing to the same attendance issues, were present during the hearing.

Salud said the two are “optimistic that the court had been sufficiently enlightened as to the necessity of issuing a TRO to prevent grave and irreparable damage to their rights.”

Vargas stressed that while he was skipping the GA, he was kept abreast of the developments in the POC and that the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (Abap) was an NSA that never had issues with the POC.

The Abap, noted Vargas, had always participated in every POC-sanctioned event both locally and internationally and is a regular medal producer of medals.

Cojuangco, 82, is shooting for an unprecedented fourth term as POC president.

Meanwhile, the Senate committee on sports chaired by Manny Pacquiao was forced to reset to Nov. 29 an inquiry that was penciled yesterday as the parties involved had to attend to a court hearing relative to the holding of the POC elections.

Pacquiao was scheduled to grill Cojuangco and other key POC officials on the P27-million that was used as part of the staging of the 2005 Southeast Asian Games.