Contention over what counts as board majority another cloud hanging over POC matters

Manolo Pedralvez

Posted at Oct 22 2020 11:31 AM

Seven of the 13-member Philippine Olympic Committee Executive Board refuted the contention of POC general-secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes, underscoring that the board majority was “7, not 8,” citing the provisions of POC constitution and by-laws.

They also warned Gastanes of sanctions should he fail to issue a new notice in holding a special board meeting next week in discussing the failure of Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee to submit its overdue report, including the audited financial statements, on the 2019 SEA Games last Oct. 10 based on the Sept. 30 motion of the POC general assembly.

“We will take the initiative to send out the required notices and proceed with the meeting discussing not only the failure of PHISGOC to comply with the General Assembly’s resolution last 30 September 2020 but also appropriate sanctions to be imposed on you (Gastanes) for failure to comply with your duty as POC secretary general,” the group stressed in its letter to Gastanes last Oct. 19.

The letter was signed by POC chairman Steve Hontiveros, first vice president Joey Romasanta, second vice president Col. (ret.) Jeff Tamayo, treasurer Julian Camacho, auditor Jonne Go and board members Atty. Clint Aranas of archery and Robert Mananquil of billiards and snooker.

Former POC chief Ricky Vargas, who sits on the POC board as immediate past president, already personally came out last Monday that he was backing the POC resolution in asking the PHISGOC, chaired by former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, for a full accounting of its expenses on the SEA Games “because it is the correct and right thing to do.” 

Gastanes was appointed by POC president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, who is running for reelection in the Nov. 27 polls, and has demurred in heeding the POC’s petition for PHISGOC to submit its overdue report, including the audited financial statements, on the 30th SEA Games. 

The secretary-general had earlier stymied the group’s petition in calling for a special board meeting on Oct. 22, Thursday, citing a technicality that the board was “8, not 7” based on the International Olympic Committee guidelines on Athletes’ Commissions of National Olympic Committees that were revised last 2019.

In reply to their letter of Oct. 15, Gastanes notified them last Sunday and explained that triathlete Nikko Huelgas, who is a member of the POC Athletes’ Commission, was the “14th member” of the board for taking part and voting on the amendments to the POC charter. 

Led by Romasanta, the group maintained such a reasoning was wrong and that “the majority of the POC EB is 7, not 8,” mentioning Section VIII, Article 1 of the POC constitution and by-laws

They pointed out that “the POC by-laws clearly provide that its EB is composed of 13 members, namely: the chairman, the president, the IOC members in the country (if any), the first vice president, second vice president, secretary general, treasurer, auditor, the 4 individuals elected as executive board members, and immediate past president of the POC.”

“On the matter of the (board) membership of the AC representative, the matter cannot be enforced,” the group noted.

They also invoked Section 1.5 to the rules 27 and 28 of the IOC charter, which states that “the officers and members of the executive body of an NOC shall be elected in accordance with the NOC’s statutes, for a term of office not exceeding four years; they may be eligible for re-election.”

These provisions, the group said, showed that Huelgas was not a legitimate POC board member since his presence in the board meetings were “in contravention” of the POC by-laws. 

Huelgas’ involvement in the board’s discussions on the charter amendments could not be interpreted as an amendment to the local Olympic body’s charter, they argued. 

“While he was accommodated, in truth and in fact and with all due respect to Mr. Huelgas, he is not a member of our board,” Romasanta said.

 “Any amendments to the POC by-laws would require a resolution of two-third of the POC EB and the sgeneral assembly called for its purpose,” Romasanta emphasized, mentioning Article VIII and Section 1 of the POC by-laws.