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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

POC skips mediation

MANILA—After skipping an invitation from the Senate, officials of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) also skipped a mediation meeting hosted by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

Yesterday, POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr., or any of his allies, did not even reply to a message sent by PSC chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, who requested a meeting between Cojuangco and Amateur Boxing Alliance of the Philippines (Abap) president Ricky Vargas at his office inside the Rizal Memorial Complex.

Only Vargas, who was accompanied by Abap secretary general Patrick Gregorio, executive director Ed Picson and lawyer Chito Salud, showed up in the meeting, which was also attended by PSC commissioner Ramon Fernandez.

“I sent a text message to both Ricky and Cong. Peping, requesting them to come to my office for a possible dialogue and mediation. I wanted them both to reconcile and come up with a win-win solution for the good of our athletes. I did this because it is my mandate to mediate whenever there is in-fighting among sports officials. Ricky responded immediately while Cong. Peping did not even bother to reply or call back. His phone is off and even his daughter Mikee (Cojuango-Jaworski, IOC Representative to the Philippines) could not contact him,” Ramirez said.

According to the chairman, this is unlikely as Cojuangco usually responds to his text messages.

Last Tuesday, the POC also asked the Senate committee on sports, which was headed by boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao, for the cancellation of the inquiry on the allegedly unliquidated financial assistance and the unfair election rules that disqualified Vargas from participating in the POC elections, which is scheduled this Friday.

POC’s reason was that the officials had to attend a court hearing on the TRO Vargas asked for against the elections, but Cojuangco also did not show up in the hearing.

Instead, the POC was represented by its lawyers for the oral arguments. They were also instructed by Pasay RTC Branch 159 Judge Elma Rafallo-Lingan to submit their position papers yesterday and she is scheduled to render a decision this morning.

“Let me clarify this, I don’t favor Ricky or Cong. Peping, all I want is a just elections. We at PSC are co-equal. I can’t stop any of them from speaking whatever they like because we are five different republics here. What is going on right now is not good. When POC Comelec disqualified Ricky, it created awareness in all people that something that is not right is happening to Philippine sports, that’s why I asked for a meeting with both of them so that we can discuss and probably save some friendships,” Ramirez said.

Allegations of corruption in the POC have snowballed since the Comelec disqualified and later denied Vargas’s appeal.

PSC commissioner Fernandez alleged millions of pesos were given by the previous PSC board to the POC and were allegedly spent on events that were also funded by either the International Olympic Committee (IOC) or the Olmpic Council of Asia (OCA).
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