POC urged not to sacrifice ‘due process’ in conduct of elections


Posted at Jul 03 2019 09:17 PM

POC urged not to sacrifice ‘due process’ in conduct of elections 1
The new International Olympic headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. The IOC and the Olympic Council of Asia want the Philippine Olympic Committee to carefully plan its next election. Fabrice Coffrini/pool, AFP

MANILA -- The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has been instructed by two international sports bodies to be conscious of “due process” in conducting elections for its key positions.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) sent a letter to the POC dated July 2, Tuesday, containing the directive.

“We all agree that these issues must be addressed and resolved quickly, but not in a hurry as due process still has to be followed,” the letter said.

The POC executive board was urged to meet within 5 days from the time it received the letter, in which time an independent elections commission must be formed.

Thereafter, an extraordinary general assembly or election should be set within 10 days.

The letter was signed by James Macleod, director of Olympic Solidarity at the IOC, and OCA director-general Hussain al-Musallam.

“Due process” must be followed, the letter said, to “avoid any further challenges, and hold free and fair elections for the vacant positions.”

The time frame set by the two organizations appears to run counter to Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino’s suggestion that an election be held not later than July 18, citing POC bylaws.

Ricky Vargas’ resignation as POC president on June 18, followed by board members Clint Aranas and Cynthia Carrion, led to a call for polls that would determine who would fill the vacancies.

Vargas gave up his post following complaints that the Philippines Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) Foundation had taken control over preparations for the regional competition slated later this year, a task that, according to IOC-approved laws, falls on the POC.

Tolentino also resigned as POC chairman this week.

The IOC and the OCA are expected to send delegates to Manila to observe the conduct of elections.

In their letter, the IOC and the OCA said that whatever issue the POC was dealing with should not be treated as a localized incident.

“It must be noted that the POC has had many opportunities to resolve these issues internally and peacefully,” the letter reads. “however, [it] has not managed to do so until now.”

“Under these circumstances, the IOC and OCA have the duty to offer guidance and assistance to resolve the situation in the interest of the Olympic movement.”

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