IOC says POC assembly, not courts, should decide dispute
Upon advice from the International Olympic Committee, talks on having new elections for chairman and president in the Philippine Olympic Committee will continue this week.
The POC, through secretary-general Steve Hontiveros, has convened the executive board to discuss this on Feb. 15, in an extraordinary meeting of the POC general assembly on Feb. 19, and then for elections to be held on Feb. 23.
Pere Miro, IOC director general for National Olympic Committee relations has advised POC officials who went to the 2018 Winter in PyeongChang, South Korea of their recommendations.
Miro, following a meeting with POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr., said that it is up to the POC general assembly, and not the courts, to decide on internal issues concerning elections.
“While this should not be interpreted as government intervention with the judicial process, it must be recalled that NOCs are autonomous sports organizations,” said Miro in his letter.
The director general cited Rule 27.6 of the Olympic Charter, which states that the IOC General Assembly has the final authority within the NOC to adopt(and consequently interpret) the NOC constitution, and freely elect the members of the executive board.
“In this context, we recommend that you refer the present situation to your NOC General Assembly,” Piro went on.
And this is in view of an ongoing court case, the POC’s constitution and bylaws, and the applicable provisions of the Olympic charter.
He said the IOC will monitor the progress of the Philippine situation in the coming weeks, with the understanding that there is an ongoing court case, and an obvious need to discuss, clarify and agree upon the implications, and the next step.
Last week, discussions on having elections that have been set by a court ruling this February were discouraged during a meeting of the Philippine Olympic Committee General Assembly.
POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. moved the adjourn the meeting held at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club, and walked away from the proceedings.
This was after Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) President Ricky Vargas and executive director Ed Picson informed members of a decision that was issued by the Court of Appeals last Tuesday.
On Feb. 6, the Court of Appeals denied a petition for the issuance of a temporary restraining order which is supposed to stop court ordered-polls for a new set of leaders in the POC from taking place.
The Court of Appeals made its decision known last Tuesday in a four-page ruling written by Associate Justices Ma. Filomena Singh, Ramon Bato and Edwin Sorongon.
It will be recalled that Vargas and Tagaytay rep. Abraham Tolentino of Cycling, filed their candidacies for president and chairman respectively for the 2016 POC elections.
But they were disqualified by the POC Comelec composed of chairman Frank Elizalde and members Bro. Bernard Oca and Cong. Conrado Estrella III.
“It is unfortunate to note that disputes related to internal matters, including elections, were submitted to an ordinary court,” noted Miro.