POC chief Tolentino in no rush to receive PHISGOC SEA Games spending report

Manolo Pedralvez

Posted at Oct 03 2020 05:05 PM

Contrary to a resolution by the Philippine Olympic Committee general assembly, POC president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino on Saturday declared that he would not rush the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee in completing its accomplishment report by the Oct. 10 deadline set by the local Olympic body.

“Of course, everyone is looking forward to a clean and fair financial accounts, however, I am not attempting to put more burden on the accounting (of PHISGOC),” Tolentino said in a statement.

“On the reason for the delay, I am confident that it will be submitted in due time and I have patience on sensitive matters as such in order to have an orderly accounting.

“The SEA Games Organizing Committee has its own accountability and I believe that it is just and equitable the way we have successfully conducted the Southeast Asian Games,” he noted, adding that “I am (sic) not in favor and I did not vote for the Oct. 10 (deadline).”

Tolentino’s pronouncement was contrary to the POC general assembly decision during its online meeting Wednesday approving the motion of athletics chief Philip Ella Juico and archery head Atty. Clint Aranas in requesting PHISGOC for a comprehensive report on the operations of the 30th SEA Games that concluded on Dec. 11, 2019.

The assembly likewise accepted the Oct. 10 deadline proposed by both sports officials for PHISGOC to comply with the request.

Both Juico and Aranas said that the operating arm of the 30th SEA Games had been given more than ample time to finish the report, including the audited financial statement on the expenses of the sportsfest that the country was hosting for the fourth time.

“I do not remember anybody objecting to the motion of Juico and Aranas when this was forwarded to the body,” said POC chairman Steve Hontiveros, who presided over the assembly meeting, shortly after learning of Tolentino’s move.

He also recalled the general assembly instructing POC secretary general Atty. Ed Gastanes in notifying PHISGOC “immediately” regarding the POC resolution.

As part of his prerogative under the POC constitution and by-laws, Tolentino appointed Gastanes, general secretary of the Philippine Football Federation, to be his top lieutenant.

Both the POC president and secretary general cited the present COVID-19 pandemic during the meeting as the main reason for the much-delayed PHISGOC report.

Juico, Aranas and Hontiveros noted that they were only invoking the agreement signed by the Philippine Sports Commission, POC and PHISGOC on Aug. 14, 2019, as a requirement for the national government to release the P6 billion it had earmarked for the staging of the Games.

Signatories to the agreement were PSC chairman William Ramirez, Tolentino and Ramon Suzara, who is the president of PHISGOC Inc. and the chief operating officer of the SEA Games.

“The POC should have had oversight on the operations of PHISGOC, which was supposed to make periodical reports to the POC regarding any transactions involving them. It never happened,” Aranas, a member of the POC Executive Board together with Hontiveros, said.

“In every board meeting I would ask the financial records of PHISGOC Inc. (from Tolentino), it never happened up to this day,” the World Archery Philippines president added.

“They (PHISGOC Inc.) have no business in holding on to these financial records, cash, utang (debts) whatever because the SEA Games is long finished,” Aranas said. “The very purpose that the corporation was formed is already completed.

“It creates a cloud of doubt on the integrity of the PHISGOC report.”