POC feud heats up as removed members call for election

Mark Escarlote, ABS-CBN Sports

Posted at May 27 2019 03:38 PM | Updated as of May 27 2019 04:45 PM

POC Board Member Joey Romasanta. File photo. Arvin Lim, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines -- Sacked board member Joey Romasanta called Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas’ appointments on Monday as invalid and called for a general election within the next days.

Vargas ordered the removal of a number of the POC board members of their positions during their General Assembly including 1st vice-president Romasanta, who is the chef de mission to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Vargas nominated POC chairman Bambol Tolentino as his replacement. 

“The appointments he announced are invalid because these have to be approved by the Executive Board,” said Romasanta in a statement. 

Vargas, who took the POC presidency February last year after beating long-time head Peping Cojuangco in a re-election, announced that the new elections will be held in January 2020. But Romasanta and the banished board members wants the general elections as soon as possible.

“To determine whether he indeed has the support of the members of the General Assembly, to save the 30th SEA Games and the POC as an institution, we are calling for the general elections to be held at the soonest possible time and we will agree to declare all positions vacant if that happens,” said Romasanta.

Vargas earlier gave membership committee head Robert Bachmann, board members Romasanta, Peping Cojuangco, chef de mission Monsour Del Rosario and deputy CDM Charlie Ho the boot from their respective positions saying that ‘the individuals I mentioned have lost my trust and confidence’ following the group’s unauthorized meetings.

Romasanta added that the issue of the alleged overpricing of Asics as the official apparel of the PHI contingent and questions about the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) were not addressed as the general assembly was immediately adjourned following their removal. 

“His earlier pronouncements that he will discuss and explain all the questions of the Executive Board regarding relations with PHISGOC and the Asics overpricing did not happen,” said Romasanta. “He adjourned the meeting after a non-member moved for adjournment. Nobody was allowed to talk.”

This story originally appeared on the ABS-CBN Sports website.