Elizalde gains POC vote of confidence

By Joaquin Henson, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 22 2013 03:12 PM | Updated as of Feb 22 2013 11:12 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) Executive Board turned in a unanimous vote the other day to retain Frank Elizalde as a regular member of the General Assembly and ex-officio member of the Executive Board with voice and vote even as he has retired as a voting member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Elizalde, 80, was named IOC representative to the Philippines in 1985. Although he has retired as an IOC voting member, Elizalde remains an influential figure in the global body. He was recently elected an IOC lifetime honorary member and designated to extend his tenure in the IOC Ethics and Nominations Commissions each for a four-year period.

“I can’t imagine the POC without Mr. Elizalde especially now that we are handling so many important matters,” said POC president Jose Cojuangco Jr. “As an outstanding sportsman and being an honorary member of the IOC, Mr. Elizalde more than qualifies to continue being a member of the POC General Assembly.” Elizalde will serve the POC in the same capacity as before.

In the Olympic charter, there is a provision that National Olympic Committees must enlist as members all IOC representatives in their countries regardless of how many they are. When the POC Executive Board approved the motion to retain Elizalde, he said it would be an honor to continue serving the POC and IOC.

To recognize Elizalde’s prominence in the IOC, he was appointed to award the gold medals to every player of the US basketball team during the presentation ceremony at the London Games last year. No less than outgoing IOC president Jacques Rogge requested Elizalde to continue as member of the IOC Ethics Commission and chairman of the powerful IOC Nominations Commission. Elizalde will stay active in the IOC although as a retired member, no longer has voice and vote privileges in the Congress.

With Elizalde’s retirement, Asian Games equestrian gold medalist Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski has been nominated to take his place as the voting IOC representative to the Philippines.

When Elizalde was elected an IOC member in 1985 during president Juan Antonio Samaranch’s administration, one of his early functions was to serve in the Marketing Commission. As a successful businessman, Elizalde contributed to the effort in ensuring the survival of the IOC and the Olympics, keeping the IOC autonomous and guaranteeing the integrity of Olympism. His 27 years in the IOC spanned two revolutionary and evolutionary periods under Samaranch and Rogge whose combined leadership has fortified the Olympic movement.

Attending the POC Executive Board meeting were Cojuangco, chairman Tom Carrasco, first vice president Joey Romasanta, second vice president Jeff Tamayo, treasurer Julian Camacho, auditor Butch Pichay, board members Dave Carter and Jonne Go, secretary-general Steve Hontiveros, deputy secretary-general Mark Joseph, legal consultant Ramon Malinao, lawyer Wency Andanar and Elizalde.

In the same meeting, the Executive Board confirmed the mandate of a special ethics committee, headed by Elizalde, to proceed in investigating the alleged bribery attempts in last year’s POC elections. Cojuangco said the committee was given the “clout” to recommend sanctions on guilty parties for approval by the General Assembly.

Cojuangco also said he is inclined to defer making hasty decisions regarding the country’s participation in the coming Southeast Asian Games in the wake of host Myanmar’s manipulation of events to suit home athletes.