NEWLY elected Philippine Medical Association (PMA) president Dr. Minerva Calimag officially took over on Monday as head of the premiere medical group in the country with her first order being to stop her predecessor, Dr. Leo Olarte, from entering their head office in Quezon City.

In virtual tug-of-war at the PMA head office, Calimag prevented Olarte and his supporters from entering the compound over fears of him trying to hold on to his post.

"He was the one that sent everyone text messages of him organizing a 'People Power' here. Who wouldn't be worried with that?" Calimag told reporters.

"If he really loves the PMA, he should stop making these efforts and just allow the official electoral tribunal of the PMA to issue a resolution on the case," she added.

Calimag said she was duly elected by the general PMA membership and installed to the post by no less than Olarte himself.

"I have been proclaimed and inducted during the closing ceremonies of the 107th PMA Annual Convention last May 23, with Olarte himself turning over the PMA's presidency to me in the same meeting," said Calimag in a statement.

For his part, Olarte said he remains to be the legitimate president of the PMA after Calimag was disqualified by the PMA Electoral Tribunal.

"She was disqualified for premature campaigning and electioneering. That was the decision of the tribunal. Therefore, I ran unopposed during our elections last March. I don't know why she is insisting on taking over as president when she is not even qualified," Olarte told reporters.

Being unopposed, Olarte claims that he holds the right to remain as president for his second straight term.

But according to Calimag, the electoral tribunal that disqualified her is not the official commission on elections of the PMA and that the members of the "panel" were all appointees of Olarte.

Calimag added that the supposed "impeachment" of the official elections tribunal of the PMA has no grounds, thereby making the new Comelec as illegitimate.

"This is a downright lie and misrepresentation because this was not ratified by the General Assembly in the said Convention," Calimag said.

Olarte said he is willing to slug it out with Calimag as to who will be the officially recognized PMA president even if it reaches the legal courts.

"We are already studying our legal options with regard to this matter and we are prepared to fight for what is right," said Olarte.

There are about 70,000 members of the PMA across the country. (HDT/Sunnex)