The International Olympic Committee has asked Philippine Olympic Committee officials who have already vacated their positions not to attend the special meeting set on Monday, purportedly in preparation for the POC elections on July 28.
The letter was sent by IOC director for Olympic Solidarity and National Olympic Committee Relations James Macleod and Olympic Council of Asia director general Hussain al-Musallam to concerned officials, including Ricky Vargas, who quit as as POC president last June 18.
The IOC sent its latest communication after it learned that two sets of letters were sent out to invite members of the POC, including those who had already quit their posts. One of the letter of invitation letters came from secretary general Patrick Gregorio, and the other one originated from acting secretary general and legal counsel Charlie Ho.
The IOC said the separate sets of invitations are “unfortunately adding confusion to the existing situation, ” and asked that “everyone should simply respect the collegial decision and resolutions taken by the competent governing bodies of the POC, be it the executive board or the general assembly, in line with the basic principles of good governance in the Olympic Movement.”
In response, Vargas, as per IOC advice, said he will not attend the special meeting.
“I was prepared to attend the POC board meeting scheduled for July 8, 2019 until I read the last letter from IOC-OCA dated 04 July 2019, which I determined was unfavorable to my attendance,” Vargas said in a statement.
Vargas quit amid questions raised by the POC Board on the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee Foundation, which is under Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano.
The spate of resignations by the top POC officials was spurred by questions raised by the POC Board against the eligibility of the Phisgoc Foundation led by Taguig Cong. Alan Peter Cayetano.
The Phisgoc Foundation, which allegedly entered into private contracts including those for the athletes’ uniforms later found to be overpriced, was incorporated by Vargas and his staff, along with those of Cayetano, which the POC Board claimed has superseded the existence of the original Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee, ad hoc body to which Cayetano was appointed to act as chairman by former POC President Jose “Peping” Cojuangco.
“I have decided against attending the said meeting. I had hoped to be of help in clarifying several issues currently confronting the POC, but I will accept the advice from the IOC-OCA not to be at the said meeting,” added Vargas added.
Also with Vargas, those who are expected not to attend the meeting are chairman Abraham Tolentino, board members Cynthia Carrion of gymnastics and Clint Aranas of archery, and former acting president Joey Romasanta of volleyball.
Tolentino, Carrion, Aranas and Romasanta earlier submitted written letters of resignation
Gregorio and Ho have also decided not to attend the meeting following the advice of the IOC, which also told POC officials to abstain from attending the meeting to avoid further disputes and challenges.
Among the remaining members of the executive board who are expected to attend the special meeting to discuss the coming elections are former president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr., IOC representative Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski, Robert Mananquil of billiards and snooker, Julian Camacho of wushu, Jonee Go of canoe/kayak and Jeff Tamayo of soft tennis.
After the July 8 meeting, the executive board will make its move to fill in the vacancies in preparation for the extraordinary meeting of the General Assembly on July 18.
The meeting on July 18, which will be held in the presence of an IOC/OCA representative, will be the time when those who will seek elective posts in POC can be ratified.