Cynthia Carrion of gymnastics, Karen Cabanero of sepak takraw, Ed Picson of ABAP, Monico Puentevella of weightlifting, Nonong Araneta of PFF, Richard Fernandez of shooting and Robert Bachmann of squash join hands in a show of unity during a press conference of NSAs calling for compliance with Pasig Court order on the inclusion of boxing chief Ricky Vargas and Rep. Bambol Tolentino in the POC polls and the resignation of Peping Cojuangco as POC president. The meeting was held at Valle Verde Country Club.   Joey Mendoza

Urge POC to hold friday polls; Vargas ‘solid 27’ want election
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - February 22, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Allies of boxing chief Ricky Vargas, clamoring for reforms in Philippine sports, yesterday claimed to have the support of 27 of the 43 voting members and vowed to fight efforts to disqualify him again from running for Philippine Olympic Committee president against incumbent Peping Cojuangco.

Gymnastics’ Cynthia Carrion, sepak takraw’s Karen Cabanero, squash’s Robert Bachmann, shooting’s Richard Fernandez, weightlifting’s Monico Puentevella and football’s Nonong Araneta, who were accompanied by boxing executive director Ed Picson, voiced the group’s demand for the POC to allow the conduct of “fair and honest elections” on Friday and let Vargas and cycling’s Rep. Bambol Tolentino vie for president and chairman, respectively, as ordered by the Pasig court. 

The group braces for a heated debate on the “active membership” requirement of qualification for president and chairman, which in 2016 had led to the POC commission on elections’ decision to disqualify Vargas and Tolentino. The two had sought legal relief and won a court decision declaring the 2016 polls illegal and the POC Comelec was mistaken in disqualifying the two based on its interpretation.

The group said it will insist on using the power of the general assembly to drive the POC Comelec and leadership to action. Should Vargas and Tolentino be disqualified again, they may call for a division of the house or they still cast votes for Vargas, make way for 27 spoiled ballots and submit them to the International Olympic Committee.

“We have crossed the Rubicon. It’s now time for change and we now have the majority of the general assembly, who would like to demand for an election, a clean, honest and fair election, as ordered by the court... No Comelec decision, no board resolution should dictate on the GA; the GA will be the decision-maker here, let no one stop the election on Friday, let no one stop the candidacy of Mr. Vargas and Congressman Tolentino,” said Puentevella.

“I’m for good governance. I’m appalled with the way they’re running things, as if they can do what they want. It’s not the way to run an organization, you have to have accountability to the athletes, to the stakeholders. We should fight for that,” said Araneta.

Bachmann pointed out that even two voting members from the athletes’ commission, Henry Dagmil and Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, threw in their support and signed the group’s petition. “We have two athletes who are the voice of the national athletes and coaches. Why not heed their call?” he said.

Aside from the seven who showed up in yesterday’s press conference, the pro-Vargas camp declined to name the other signatories  to “protect their rights” but insisted all 27 will vote in his favor.

The deadline for the filing of candidacy lapsed yesterday noon with Cojuangco and Vargas entering their bids for president and Tolentino and table tennis’ Ting Ledesma vying for chairman.

Vargas’ group said they will question Ledesma’s candidacy saying the court ordered “only the inclusion of Vargas and Tolentino and no one else” in the Feb. 23 polls.

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