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Sunday, August 18, 2019
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Limpag: Seag clash

AFTER Ricky Vargas’ shocking resignation last week, it seems his detractors at the Philippine Olympic Committee are targeting the Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) hosting next.

It’s a long story but to sum it up, it’s about who should be the lead organizer of the SEAG.

Vargas and the Philippine Sports Commission formed the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee Foundation Inc. (Phisgoc), which will not only oversee the hosting but will also be the conduit for the funds from the government.

The POC wants Phisgoc to be a committee under the POC and that it is the Olympic body that is mandated to organize the SEAG.

Are you with me so far?

Now, Phisgoc is headed by Alan Peter Cayetano, who has said that President Rodrigo Duterte has rejected the idea that the preparation for the SEAG will be handled by the POC. And on this one, I’m with Digong.

Why cut POC’s role in the SEAG preparation? I can only read between the lines. Everybody knows that PSC chairman Butch Ramirez has the President’s ear and I’m pretty sure the chairman briefed Digong what happened the last time the POC took the sole role in preparing and organizing the SEAG. Up until this day, the Commission on Audit is still chasing the 2005 Philsoc--same name that Phisgoc stands for but curiously a different acronym--for some of the yet to be liquidated funds. That was 12 years ago.

A few days ago, Romasanta accused Cayetano’s group of purchasing overpriced uniforms for the SEAG hosting and boy did my palm meet my head.

That’s rich considering that when Butch Ramirez and Ramon Fernandez took over the PSC and started cleansing the ills of the national sports associations, one of the things they learned in the Philippine Karatedo Federation was that it wasn’t authorized to use World Karatedo Federation logos in the uniforms it sold.

Anyway, I don’t buy for a moment that a PSC under Ramirez will purchase overpriced uniforms considering what it had uncovered. But this whole thing--the POC fighting Phisgoc--makes me wonder if we can ever move forward with the final preparations for the SEAG.

If not, would removing Romasanta, the POC president by virtue of Ricky Vargas’ resignation, help? As Al Mendoza pointed out in his column, Romasanta is the vice president of the NSA for volleyball but the POC president must be the president of a national sports association.

The POC by-laws too allows the POC to call for a special election if the successor of a president isn’t qualified. Well, I hope they call for a special election.

Didn’t Romasanta et. al, citing some technical mumbo jumbo, initially disqualify Vargas from the POC election? Good thing Vargas went to the courts, which sided with him and that eventually led to the ouster of Peping Cojuangco.

But Peping never left, did he? Which is why we are where we are right now.

I hope there will be a POC election in the next general assembly and I hope we find a worthy successor to Vargas.


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