Elizalde thinks Vargas' POC presidency will not heal PH sports
MANILA, Philippines – A new era dawns in Philippine sports with Ricky Vargas' victory as president of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) over longtime leader Peping Cojuangco.
While Vargas' triumph may be seen as the start of reconciliation among sports people who carry differing views, former International Olympic Committee (IOC) representative to the Philippines Frank Elizalde doesn't think so.
"Knowing my fellow POC members, no. Sorry," said Elizalde with a chuckle when asked if healing happens next in Philippine sports politics.
"In reality, there's a lot of not friendly relations among a lot of people."
In a report by Spin.ph, Cojuangco said that he will tell the IOC about the re-election, which took place after a Pasig court ruling rendered the 2016 election that saw him win his 4th term null and void. The IOC can suspend national Olympic bodies it believes have been interfered by the government.
Elizalde said Conjuangco is free to appeal to the IOC, but thinks there are no grounds for the POC to face possible suspension.
"They (IOC) regret very much that the situation got to this point but there is nothing they can do as far as not allowing an election to take place."
Vargas and running mate Bambol Tolentino, who won the chairmanship over Ting Ledesma, were initially disqualified in the 2016 elections after being declared by the POC an "inactive" member.
"There is no chance for any suspension," said Elizalde.
"On what grounds? The IOC already said to go ahead with this election and the election took place now, there seems to be no objection to how it was carried out so there are no grounds for any further action by the IOC."
"The POC will advise the IOC of the results of this election and if Mr. Cojuangco so desires, he can appeal to the IOC, I don't see on what grounds but that is up to him."
But Elizalde is keeping his fingers crossed for unity, with the Philippines preparing for the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia and its hosting of the Southeast Asian Games in 2019.
"I hope and pray that there's more unity but it's just me hoping and praying," Elizalde said.
Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski, daughter of Peping, in the current IOC representative of the Philippines. – Rappler.com