Elizalde maintains no gov’t intervention
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - February 24, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Although the Philippine Olympic Committee obeyed a court order to allow boxing chief Ricky Vargas to run as president, former International Olympic Committee representative to the Philippines Frank Elizalde said the voting didn’t necessarily constitute government intervention and thus wouldn’t warrant suspension.

“The IOC takes very strict action when there’s definite government interference, which at times we were very close to that line especially with the relations between the POC and the PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) but in respect to this particular case, no, there’s no chance of any suspension,” Elizalde, who chaired the POC commission on election.

Vargas and candidate for chairman Rep. Bambol Tolentino tried to run in the 2016 POC elections but were disqualified. They took legal action and won a favorable ruling.

“In my opinion, there’s no government intervention here because we’re dealing with a judicial procedure, a court case, and nobody – the POC or anybody else in the country – is beyond the dictates of law and legal authority in this country. If you have all types of governmental attempts to interfere, then yes (there’s risk of suspension). But in this particular case, no,” Elizalde said.

The IOC, he added, has given its blessing to this exercise.

“I was just in PyeongChang (Winter Olympics) and I’ve spoken with people from the IOC. They said that we have to follow what the court wants. They feel that it should have been decided within the organization and the General Assembly. But once this matter was taken to court, the IOC cannot in any way say it’s legal or it’s against the Olympic Charter,” he said.

“They’ve expressed it in writing that they regretted that it had come to this point but there is nothing they can do as far as not allowing the election to take place. The IOC said they should carry out the electoral process,” he added.

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