Manuel V. Pangilinan backs fair, free polls

Manny V. Pangilinan

Manuel V. Pangilinan backs fair, free polls
Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - February 16, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — SBP chairman emeritus and ABAP chairman Manny V. Pangilinan said yesterday he supports efforts to hold new POC elections for chairman and president, as ordered by the court, to allow NSAs to vote the officers of their choice in a free, fair and democratic process.

Pangilinan said the POC will be cited for contempt if it disregards the Pasig Regional Trial Court order to hold the elections on Feb. 23 after judge Maria Gracia Cadiz-Casaclang ruled that the disqualification of Ricky Vargas as candidate for president and Rep. Bambol Tolentino as candidate for chairman in the November 2016 POC polls by the POC Comelec was unjustified. 

The POC has set an extraordinary General Assembly meeting at the West Side Grill of the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club on Monday to discuss the status of the appealed case on the eligibility of candidates for POC president, the IOC directives on how to resolve contentious issues and the conduct of the Feb. 23 elections.

Chess Federation of the Philippines president and POC executive board member Rep. Prospero Pichay said “the court is not in the position to order an election ... this is sports, the POC is a private institution (and) the IOC is our supreme authority.” He added that “there’s nothing in the IOC letter saying we should call for an election, the IOC just said to talk it out among ourselves in the General Assembly and decide if we will call for an election or not.”

Pichay referred to a recent letter from IOC National Olympic Committee relations director Pere Miro to POC president Jose Cojuangco, Jr. where it was mentioned that the General Assembly should settle disputes within the POC, “fully consistent with the applicable laws of your country.”

In objecting to the RTC order, the POC leadership went to the Court of Appeals and sought a temporary restraining order and injunction but was turned down. The POC’s attempt to stay the election means that it recognizes the jurisdiction of the court to rule on the issue.

“NSAs should be allowed to speak out through the elections,” said Pangilinan. “They have a voice and they must be heard. No NSA should be restrained for whatever reason. Let’s do the elections in the spirit of transparency and fair play. I’m convinced that if we set the stage right for Philippine sports, the business community will come in full support.” Pangilinan said the result of a fair and democratic election should be respected. “Let the chips fall where they may,” he said. “But let’s give the NSAs the chance to choose their leaders.”

Pangilinan said candidates should be chosen on the basis of platforms, not personalities. “Winning the Olympic gold medal is our goal,” he said. “There’s so much to tackle in sports. Take the National Training Center. We can’t just put it up in the boondocks. Athletes must have access to schools and amenities. We need to prioritize the sports where we can aspire for medals, individual sports with weight classifications.”

Pangilinan also cited media’s crucial role in upholding the truth and crusading for what is right. “I’m reminded of the quote ‘News is the first draft of history’ from the late Washington Post publisher Phil Graham,” he said. Pangilinan said the 2017 movie “The Post” starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks told the story of the newspaper defying pressure from the White House to report on the Pentagon Papers and Watergate.  

Vargas said in the POC elections, it will come down to a conscience vote. “If elected president, I will be transparent and I promise good governance,” he said. “We will do what is right for Philippine sports.”

Vargas said it’s possible that the General Assembly will be asked to decide on how to define “active member” as a qualification for candidates for POC president and chairman and whether or not to hold elections on Feb. 23. “I will attend and bring a copy of the court order making the Feb. 23 elections final and executory,” he said. “The POC may cite the IOC letter authorizing the General Assembly to resolve disputes of this nature but it must be mentioned that the IOC itself said decisions must be consistent with the laws of the land.”

MVP POC POLLS SBP
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