IOC urges PH Olympic body to immediately tackle amendments to its bylaws

Manolo Pedralvez

Posted at Aug 25 2020 03:24 AM

POC president Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino, flanked by POC chairman Steve Hontiveros (left) and board member Cynthia Carrion, is seeking reelection in the November vote. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file

The International Olympic Committee is prodding the Philippine Olympic Committee executive board to hasten its tackling of the two remaining "political" amendments in the POC constitution and bylaws, beginning with an informal caucus Tuesday, August 25, to discuss the matter. 

POC secretary-general Atty. Ed Gastanes notified the 13-person board that the “POC president requests for an informal caucus of all the members of the Executive Board” via video call. 

“Agenda is possible amendments to the POC constitution and bylaws,” the announcement added.

Expected to be discussed are the amendments of excluding candidates 70 years old and older from running as candidates in the POC polls scheduled in November, as well as the composition of the POC executive board, which are both being pushed by POC president Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino.

POC observers consider these changes “political,” because they would have a bearing on national sports federation officials who would like to run for POC positions but would be barred from doing so, such as Cynthia Carrion, the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president who is over the aforementioned age limit. 

Tolentino, 55, has made it publicly known he is seeking reelection.

The notice was addressed to Tolentino, chairman Steve Hontiveros, first vice-president Joey Romasanta, second vice-president Col. (ret.) Jeff Tamayo, treasurer Julian Camacho, auditor Jonne Go, board members Clint Aranas, Rep. Prospero Pichay Jr., Robert Mananquil, Carron, boxing chief Ricky Vargas, sitting as immediate past president, and triathlete Nikko Huelgas as a member of the POC Athletes Commission.

The list of attendees also includes IOC board member Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworksi, the Equestrian Association of the Philippines president and a board member under the present POC charter. 

These changes to the POC charter reached an impasse during the special session held last July 24, because the two-thirds vote needed for the changes to pass could not be reached during the meeting that lasted for nearly five hours. 

The move to have the informal discussion was an offshoot of a letter sent to Tolentino last Aug. 13 by Jerome Polvey, head of the International Relations and Governance, NOC Relations Department, of the world Olympic body based in Lausanne, Switzerland. 

“As discussed on the phone and further to our previous communications on that subject, we would appreciate it if you, together with all members of the your NOC executive board could now finalize the process of your NOC by-laws,” Polvey wrote the POC president, referring to the letter he sent last June 5 on the issue. 

With some of the points in the correspondence underscored, he proposed that the POC board “take the following steps so as to move forward quickly and resolve this impasse quickly.”

Polvey said these are “to organize an informal meeting/discussion in the coming days involving all the executive board as to find a compromise solution on the few issues which remain pending and then to convene a formal another formal meeting of the executive board to officially confirm the consensus and the final draft of the bylaws.”

The IOC officially stated that one of these is that these official changes would be “sent back to us immediately afterwards for final review before it is submitted to your NOC General Assembly for adoption.”

He urged the board “be completed quickly and successfully so that we could receive a final draft by the end of this month at the latest.” 

“We are sincerely counting on the collaboration from all the executive board members to implement these steps and work together constructively in order to finalize the process,” Polvey stressed.

Tolentino has indicated he would take both amendments to the POC general assembly for ratification in an apparent bid to bypass the board, after which these would be forwarded to the IOC for review. 

These two items are not included in the first virtual POC general assembly meeting scheduled for Aug. 29. 

Aranas said he was wary about what the caucus could accomplish “because the notice sent to us was not exactly explicit on what amendments would be taken up. I find this disturbing.”

He also recalled the letter sent by Mananquil, the Billiards and Snooker Confederation of the Philippines secretary general, to Gastanes as early as July 29, five days after the July 24 session, requesting for another session to discuss and deliberate on these charter amendments.

“The latest correspondence from the IOC might have not been needed if only Gastanes acted on the request of Mananquil with dispatch,” Aranas noted.

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