Malacañang supports Vargas in POC feud
MANILA, Philippines – The Palace expressed support for Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas and chairman Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino, who are currently facing leadership crisis within the organization.
"We call on everyone to insulate sports from politics," said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement.
Panelo called all parties involved in the country's hosting of the Southeast Asian Games to focus on the preparation of the Filipino athletes for the regional biennial meet that's only 6 months away.
"We should be together rallying behind and supporting all the Filipino athletes who are set to compete in the games as we extend our world-famous warmth and hospitality to our brothers and sisters in the region who are coming to Manila either to participate and represent or cheer their nations."
In the POC general assembly held last May 27, Vargas sacked former POC chief Peping Cojuangco and other officials from their appointive posts, citing "loss of trust and confidence" as grounds for their removal.
Philippine Taekwondo Association secretary-general and Olympian Monsour del Rosario was also fired from his SEA Games chef de mission post, together with his deputy Charlie Ho from the netball federation.
The post was initially offered to Philippine Sports Commission chairman William "Butch" Ramirez, but he declined the offer.
Vargas further accused majority of the POC board – where Cojuangco is part – for "destabilizing the POC." But Cojuangco's side clarified that there was no move to oust Vargas as discussed in the special board meeting which the current POC chief skipped. – Rappler.com