Waiting for POC’s world to change

THE GAME OF MY LIFE - Bill Velasco - The Philippine Star

“Me and all my friends 

We’re all misunderstood

They say we stand for nothing and

There’s no way we ever could

Now we see everything that’s going wrong

With the world and those who lead it

We just feel like we don’t have the means

To rise above and beat it

So we keep waiting

Waiting on the world to change

We keep on waiting

Waiting on the world to change” 

- John Mayer, “Waiting on the World to Change”

The stones continue to fly in the unending Philippine Olympic Committee brouhaha. In a lengthy, emotional letter, POC membership committee chair Robert Bachmann wrote this writer in response to Saturday’s column. Bachmann, who was removed from his post at the POC General Assembly by POC president Ricky Vargas, took exception to some of the statements made in the piece. His first salvo, though, was a criticism of the conduct of Vargas during last Monday’s POC GA. Bachmann also reminds that he actually campaigned for Vargas and POC chair Bambol Tolentino at the recall election.

“It was Mr. Vargas that demeaned the Office of the POC and disrespected the GA by using swear words several times throughout his speech,” Bachmann says. “How many articles came out after the GA on the POC? Who instigated and orchestrated the disinformation? Why destroy the image of the POC in the process? Even months before the GA, they were out to destroy the image of the Board and, unknowingly, the POC by calling for press cons and issuing press releases. They drew first blood and they cannot deny that. I saw what happened, I know what happened.”

Bachmann, president of the national sports association for squash, goes on to claim that he pleaded with Vargas to unite the POC Board, but that the president’s subordinates would advise the opposite. Bachmann also claimed that the incumbents were using the Board as a “stamping pad and get away with things.” He also replied to the accusation of at least four expelled NSAs which formed the Reform Philippine Sports (RP Sports) movement to question his alleged inaction on their demand to be reinstated.

“Mr. Vargas had requested Membership to look into the complaints of claimants of the NSAs of Dragon boat, Bowling, Table Tennis, Volleyball, Swimming and Weightlifting, even if it was not within our mandate to do so,” Bachmann clarifies. “Membership is a recommending committee and nothing more. The Membership Committee also does not handle NSA disputes... We made an exception to the request of the President. Under our by-laws, we only deal with intra-NSA disputes, so if the complaint is emanating from outside an NSA, we advise them to unite with the current NSA and join the ranks. It is the Executive Board that decides on all Membership recommendations based on the truths presented, which is later ratified by the GA. Mr. Vargas was made aware of the facts and even supported the recommendations of Membership, and so did the POC Executive Board.”

Bachmann adds that these issues are not about politics, but doing the right thing.

“This is not about Peping vs. Vargas. We’re so way beyond that,” he insists. “I will resign as NSA President of Squash and never be part of the POC again if Cong. Peping and/or Joey Romasanta have plans to run as President in the next POC elections. I am that confident. Can they do the same? It’s unfortunate that Mr. Vargas listens to the wrong people. I was appointed by the Executive Board, and my appointment along with Membership Deputies were ratified by the GA. I do not report to one person. I report to the Executive Board and the GA. Sorry, but I’m no yes-man. I will call a spade, a spade.”

Lastly, Bachmann reminds that the concerns about the relationship between the POC and PHISGOC have not been clarified to the POC Executive Board, and that this should be a priority as the SEA Games approaches.

“The Board is simply trying to protect the POC and its NSAs. This is what worries the POC Executive Board and the NSAs,” says Bachmann. “We need to protect our institution and our NSAs. An event of this magnitude and the amount involved if not disclosed or transparent and handled properly will destroy the POC in the end. What then happens to our athletes? Lastly, Bill, we are all for unity. We are all for setting aside our differences until after the SEA Games in support of our National Athletes and love for sports and country. If we can find a way to protect the POC and resolve these issues, then we can move forward and bring peace and unity to the POC, at least, for the interim.”

Well, now that both sides have had their shots at each other, it would serve them well to come to a civilized consensus - or at least compromise - behind closed doors. Meanwhile, the rest of us are still waiting for the POC’s world to change. Hi.

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