by Nick Giongco
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez yesterday distanced himself and the national athletes from the infighting among sports leaders, saying the 30th Southeast Asian Games will proceed as scheduled.
He also announced that Malacanang has ordered the PSC “to keep Team Philippines focused on their mission – to win and make the country proud in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.”
With the power struggle ensuing in the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) after the sudden resignation of Ricky Vargas, Ramirez, also the chief of mission of the SEAG, said President Rodrigo Duterte “is aware of the issues hounding Philippine sports and insisted that we expend our energies towards our athletes’ preparation.”
“Even if the POC holds an election every week, we at the PSC will be focused on the athletes’ needs,” said Ramirez.
“We are not bothered and the POC’s problem is an isolated one that they themselves will solve,” he added.
Ramirez said the PSC has budget to finance the athletes’ preparation in the coming months to get them all revved up for the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 sportsfest.
Ramirez likewise pointed out that there is no stopping the holding of the biennial event during those dates since moving it to early 2020 will not look good.
Reiterating his call to unity, he called on all concerned to unite “for the sake of our athletes, let’s focus our 100% on the big tasks at hand.
Ramirez is set to host a fellowship assembly between the NSAs, national coaches and athletes on July 5.
Tolentino to call for POC election
Meantime, the POC will call for an election for president on Tuesday next week, POC chairman Abraham Tolentino said yesterday.
Tolentino said first vice-president Joey Romasanta of volleyball is “not qualified” to take over the role of president following the sudden resignation of Ricky Vargas last Tuesday.
“Wala (None),” said Tolentino when asked if there is a new POC president.
“He’s not qualified (to assume the POC presidency). He could even be charged with usurpation of authority,” he said.
Tolentino said he will formally call for elections to be held next week when the POC General Assembly meets during a special session at the GSIS Building in Manila.
“When there is a vacancy, based on the POC bylaws and constitution, Article 7, Section 6, says the first vice-president will take over or the 2nd provided they are qualified,” said Tolentino.
The problem is that Romasanta and second VP Jeff Tamayo of soft tennis are not qualified.
Romasanta was elected in 2016 being the president of volleyball but the 74-year-old former head of Project: Gintong Alay is no longer the volleyball head.
“It is a continuing requirement,” said Tolentino, referring to the criteria that for somebody to assume the presidency, he has to remain as an NSA president of an Olympic sport.
As for Tamayo, soft tennis is not an Olympic sport, a requirement among those seeing higher positions in the POC.
Since Romasanta and Tamayo don’t make the grade, Tolentino said that as POC chairman, he has to call for an election within 30 days from Vargas’ resignation.