MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) The camp of Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP) chief Ricky Vargas expressed its disappointment with the decision of the Pasig City Regional Trial Court to deny their application for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the upcoming Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) elections.
The decision of the Pasig City RTC, which was reported by Spin, will almost certainly pave the way for the re-election of incumbent POC president Peping Cojuangco for a fourth straight term.
"The court's denial of our application for a restraining order is of course most disappointing," Atty. Chito Salud, Vargas' spokesperson, said in a message on Thursday afternoon upon receiving the court's decision.
"It would have opened up much needed space and possibilities for a winning approach to this whole saga," he added.
Vargas' camp filed the TRO last Friday, according to a report from the Philippine Star, in the hopes to put on hold the POC elections set for November 25. The head of ABAP was disqualified from running as POC president as he is not considered an "active member," according to the POC commission on election's interpretation of its bylaws.
Salud said that a TRO would have given all parties a chance to "step back, to agree and focus on finding solutions based on a singular criterion, namely what action would best serve our athletes' overall welfare."
"If we were able to come together on that basis, we were confident that we wouldn't need to go back to the courts to help us answer that question," he added.
Salud stressed that Vargas and his running mate, Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines president Rep. Abraham Tolentino, "were driven by a sincere desire to provide an alternative approach to improving our sports program."
Though the Pasig RTC's decision did not go their way, Vargas's camp maintained that "the issue has not been settled with finality."
In another statement, Vargas said that the Pasig City court scheduled hearings on December 9 and December 16, two weeks after the POC elections, to determine the rightful definition of the term "active member," which has been the primary issue in this saga.
"We will await the resolution of this case," said Vargas.
Meanwhile, Vargas and Tolentino asked for support from other national sports associations for their other candidates – Cong. Alfred Benitez (first vice-president), Gen. Lucas Managuelod (second vice-president), and Sonny Barrios (treasurer).
"We fought on the principle of change, and we continue to bat for it," said Vargas. "If you want change, let your votes signify change. The Filipino athlete deserves no less."
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