POC board seeks meeting after SEA Games organizers don’t submit spending report

Manolo Pedralvez

Posted at Oct 16 2020 06:59 PM

Majority members of the Philippine Olympic Committee Executive Board called for a special meeting on Oct. 22 to discuss the failure of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee to comply with the POC general assembly’s resolution to submit on Oct. 10 its 2019 SEA Games report, including the audited financial statements.

“The undersigned majority members of the POC Executive Board members . . . Hereby request the Office of the Secretary General to call for a special meeting of the POC Executive Board to discuss the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizational Committee Foundation Inc.’s non-compliance with the POC General Assembly’s resolution dated 30 September 2020, requiring PHISGOC to release the financial statements and liquidation report on the hosting of the 30th SEA Games, and the plan of action of the said matter,” indicated the letter dated Oct. 15 and addressed to POC secretary-general Atty. Edwin Gastanes.

Seven members of the 13-member board signed the letter, including: POC chairman Steve Hontiveros, POC first vice president Jose Romasanta, second vice president Col. (ret.) Antonio Jeff Tamayo, treasurer Julian Camacho, auditor Jonne Go and board members Atty.Jesus Clint Aranas and Robert Mananquil of archery, and billiards and snooker, respectively.

Upon the motion by athletics chief Philip Ella Juico and Aranas, the POC general assembly passed a unanimous resolution during its online meeting last Sept. 30 that required the PHISGOC, which ran and managed the 30th SEA Games, to submit its overdue report, including its audited financial statements.

Hontiveros, the presiding officer during the meeting, said there was no objection to passage of the resolution, adding there were more than 40 POC regular members -- or a majority -- who were present during the meeting.

The local Olympic body set an Oct. 10 deadline for the task since the SEA Games wound up on Dec. 11, 2019, more than 9 months after the POC had asked PHISGOC for its report. 

This was in keeping with the provisions of the agreement PHISGOC signed with the Philippine Sports Commission and the POC on Aug. 20, 2019, before the release of the P6 billion in national government funds for the competition the country was hosting for the fourth time.

On Oct. 3, POC president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino demurred and said that he was giving PHISGOC more time to submit the report. 

Tolentino, who was PHISGCOC vice chairperson chaired by ousted House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, likewise stated that he did not vote for the resolution.

Instead of submitting the report, PHISGOC Inc. president and chief operating officer Ramon “Tats” Suzara on Oct. 6 responded by saying that PHISGOC only received P1.6 billion directly from the PSC.

“Our calling for a special board meeting to tackle the PHISGOC issue is in keeping with our responsibility and obligation to the general assembly considering that our request for the report, including the audited financial statements, was not given,” Romasanta explained. 

"We are merely heeding the clamor of our members."

“Secondly, it should be noted that there is nothing partisan or political here. All we are asking for are the financial statements and other related matters,” Romasanta added.

The veteran sports official was referring to the rivalry between Tolentino, who is seeking reelection, and archery chief Aranas for the POC top post during POC polls set for Nov. 27.

“The longer the PHISGOC report and financial statements are delayed leave a very bad impression. We are merely heeding what our POC membership wants to happen,” Romasanta pointed out.

The POC official also noted that while the PSC directly gave PHISGOC P1.6 billion “it was still PHISGOC that ordered where the rest of the (government money) would be spent.”