RICKY Vargas, the president of the Amateur Boxing Alliance of the Philippines, has filed a motion for reconsideration of the decision of the Philippine Olympic Committee-Comelec’ three-man committee, headed by Frank Elizalde, that disqualified him from running against incumbent POC president 82-year-old Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, who is seeking an unprecedented fourth term.
There has been a groundswell of criticism from various leading sports personalities, including former senator Nikki Coseteng, Philippine Sports Commissioner Mon Fernandez and several members of National Sports Associations, led by football president Mariano Araneta and others clamoring for change.
In his motion for reconsideration, Vargas contended that the POC-Comelec decision is “flawed and defective for lack of due process, both procedural and substantive. It must be reversed.”
Vargas spokesman, former Philippine Basketball Association commissioner Atty. Chito Salud said that “first, the decision was made without any objection or opposition from a known third party. Second, it was hastily rendered without the basic requisite hearing having been accorded to Mr. Vargas. Third, while the disqualification was made public via a verbal declaration, no written resolution has to date been issued by the election committee specifying and explaining the grounds for exclusion. Fourth, without such written eligibility order, the decision to deemed to be based on a myopic and an unsubstantiated interpretation of the words ‘active member’ in the POC general assembly.”
Atty. Salud pointed out that ‘active member’ is at best a nebulous eligibility requirement that has been left undefined by a clearcut set of parameters and criteria in the POC by laws.
“The election committee, however, chose to limit the member’s activity, solely to attendance and physical presence at the general assembly. This is deficient. Active membership is more than attendance. Physical presence does not equate to active participation. The arbitrary and whimsical interpretation applied by the election committee unjustly prejudices the substantive rights of the ABAP and Ricky Vargas. It is too simplistic,” said Salud.
He ended: “In the end, it is our athletes and NSAs who shall invariably be deprived of their right to a free and f air democratic exercise in hopes of reinvigorating Philippine sports.”