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Fireworks loom at POC meeting

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) convenes today with two warring sides bringing two different agendas to the table.

The POC General Assembly starts at 1 p.m. at the GSIS Building in Pasay City with POC chairman Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino expected to rally national sports association leaders for an election for the position of president following the sudden resignation of boxing chief Ricky Vargas early last week.

On the other hand, Joey Romasanta, who had assumed the post vacated by Vargas by rule of succession, given that he is the first vice-president, will use the GA as a venue to urge NSA leaders to join him in efforts to help in the successful campaign during the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

The country is hosting the 2019 SEAG from Nov. 30-Dec. 11 and Romasanta believes holding an election will only promote further divisiveness within the POC and could attract unwanted attention from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Since the POC has had three changes in leadership the last three years, Romasanta surmises that the IOC might be forced to look into the Philippine situation and suspend the country.

“(The change in leadership in three years time) could be seen as a sign of instability. The IOC might think that we are running a Banana Republic,” said Romasanta, whose ascension to the POC presidency is being questioned by Tolentino.

A long time president of cycling and chess, Tolentino said Romasanta, formerly the head of karate and volleyball groups, is not qualified to take over since he no longer holds the position of a president of an Olympic sport.

While Romasanta remains a high-ranking official of the two sports, his involvement is no longer that of a president, something Tolentino insists is “a continuing requirement” to assume the POC presidency.

Romasanta said that Tolentino can’t just simply preside during Tuesday’s GA and order an election.

“There are still a lot of things to be done before an election is held,” said Romasanta, stressing that Tolentino has to “question his qualification first.”

Still, Romasanta swears that he will go to great lengths in his dispute with rival POC officials.

“I will fight for this even if it costs me my life,” he said.

However, Romasanta feels the ongoing feud among the country’s sports leaders is doing the country a disservice.

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