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Top POC officers step down, election set July 5

by Nick Giongco

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) is looking at holding an election of officers as early as July 5 following the resignation of key officials during a meeting Tuesday at the GSIS headquarters in Pasay City.

POC first vice-president Joey Romasanta, who has been serving as POC president the past week after the sudden resignation of Ricky Vargas, said he won’t be running for any position, including the position of president.

“I have served the PH sports for 33 years and I have done what I can and I have made my mark. It’s time for others to be considered,” said Romasanta.

“We can’t go on with this forever. We need new fresh faces,” said Romasanta. “We have to take this drastic measure. This is not about us but the institution.”

Everyone agreed to voluntarily vacate their posts except for two board members and one high-ranking official: Prospero Pichay of chess and Robert Mananquil of billiards and snooker and POC second vice-president Jeff Tamayo of soft tennis.

POC chairman Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino, also accepted to vacate his post and suggested that a soon-to-be-formed election committee be headed by Frank Elizalde, former International Olympic Committee (IOC) representative to the Philippines.

“Let’s get things done so we can all have unity,” said Tolentino, who is aligned with a group of Vargas, and is a solid candidate for president against somebody from the camp headed by archery chief Clint Aranas and former POC president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco.

Also vacating their posts were treasurer Julian Camacho of wushu and auditor Jonne Go of dragon boat.

Since 2016, the POC has had three major events grip its composition following the court-ordered election won by Vargas over incumbent Cojuangco, Vargas’ decision to step down and Romasanta’s surprising decision to give way.

Still, Romasanta is taking extra caution in treating the issue for fear that the IOC might get the impression that the Philippine situation should be dealt with.

“We would like to address the IOC in a manner that will not be viewed as the POC is unstable. We did this to become stronger and correct maters as they are,” added Romasanta.

Romasanta’s faction didn’t say who would be its main man for the post, stressing that “right now, anybody can (run).”

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