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Vargas TRO denied

Court lifts hurdle for Cojuangco to assume 4th term as POC president.

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) elections will proceed as scheduled this afternoon after a Pasig court denied the issuance of a temporary restraining order filed by Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines president Ricky Vargas.

Judge Elma Lingan was not convinced that a TRO was necessary to prevent the POC elections from taking place today at Wack Wack.

“After a careful consideration of the grounds relied upon for the application of a TRO, this court finds that plaintiffs have not adequately established their factual and legal bases for the issuance of a TRO,” said Lingan.

Lingan said Vargas’ case “failed to show that theirs is an exceptional case,” allowing incumbent POC president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco Jr., to cruise to an unprecedented fourth, four-year term.

Upon learning of the favorable ruling, Cojuangco immediately extended an olive branch to his critics, saying his immediate concern following his victory will be the “restoration of harmony in the POC.”

“I am going to initiate efforts,” said the 82-year-old Cojuangco.

POC first vice-president Joey Romasanta, who will be challenged by Cong. Albee Benitez of badminton, said the court ruling was a vindication.

“A vindication for the POC election rules and our profound gratitude to our Comelec for steadfastly upholding our by-laws,” he said.

Chito Salud, lawyer and spokesperson of Vargas, was saddened by the decision but assured everyone that his client will continue to help sports.

“The court’s denial of our application for restraining order is of course most disappointing,” said Salud.

“It would have opened up much needed space and possibilities for a winning approach to this whole saga. A TRO would have allowed all of us to step back, to agree and focus on finding solutions based on a singular criterion, namely what action would best serve our athletes’ overall welfare.”

“Mr. Vargas and Cong. Abraham Tolentino (also disqualified from running as chairman owing to attendance issues) were driven by a sincere desire to provide an alternative approach to improving our sports program. They commit to continue their quest to empower our athletes and uplift Philippine sports.”

To be contested aside from the position of first VP are those of the second VP as incumbent Jeff Tamayo is opposed by muay’s Lucas Managuelod and Julian Camacho of wushu is challenged by Sonny Barrios of basketball.

Jonee Go of caneo-kayak will not have an opponent as Ting Ledesma of table-tennis withdrew his candidacy.

There will be 44 voting members during today’s event which is actually the last General Assembly for the year.