2 in ‘Group of 7’ take offense at Bambol’s words

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    TWO members of the Philippine Olympic Executive Board yesterday objected strongly to the name-calling by POC president Bambol Tolentino after the board reached an impasse on the proposed amendments to the POC constitution and by-laws last Friday.

    Tolentino tagged the “Group of 7” for putting a roadblock to his desire to bar candidates aged 70 and above in running in the POC polls in November after discussions and deliberations that lasted nearly five hours.

    “I appealed to all to act as one and not as protagonists in a political encounter,” he lamented. “Unfortunately, reforms were blocked using the tyranny of numbers. Dating gawi tayo.”

    POC first vice president Joey Romasanta and board member Atty. Clint Aranas, who felt they were the ones being alluded to by the POC chief, took offense.

    “We should be mindful of our statements and declarations because it could give an adverse impression to the public of what we are,” noted Romasanta, 75, who has been outspoken in opposing the age cap while insisting that he has no desire to run in the November polls.

    “How can there be a tyranny of numbers when our group agreed to most of the Tolentino camp’s proposals,” Aranas said, adding they voted on the contentious issue based on the rules of the POC constitution and by-laws.

    Tolentino was not available for comment yesterday.

    “Was there a tyranny of numbers when President Duterte was elected as president? Was there a tyranny of numbers when Tolentino himself was voted as congressman?” Aranas asked, referring to the POC president, a House representative from the lone district of Tagaytay.

    “He (Tolentino) is a politician and understands the numbers game.  I need not explain that to him.”

    The former Government Surety and Insurance System chairman bared what actually took place during the discussion of the proposed amendment.

    Auditor Jonne Go, who is identified with Romasanta, proposed a compromise age cap at 80, which appeared to have gathered enough support until boxing chief Ricky Vargas, an ex-officio board member as an immediate past president, opposed the move, according to Aranas.

    “Under our rules we were forced to divide the house because of Ricky’s objection so Jonne’s proposal required two-thirds vote of those present during the meeting for it to pass. It didn’t,” Aranas said, noting that even Romasanta and he himself did not agree to the compromise.

    He also noted that gymnastics head and board member Cynthia Carrion, who is in her seventies and a Tolentino ally, also voted against the new age cap.

    Aranas explained his decision, saying: “Like in any democracy, even POC regular members can vote and be voted upon regardless of age. The National Sports Associations should have the right to choose their officials.”

    Romasanta and Aranas said they were surprised when Tolentino adjourned the meeting when it appeared that he would not get his way, although it should have been POC chairman Steve Hontiveros, as the board presiding officer, who was empowered to do so.

    Romansanta also pointed out the Tolentino camp wanted to retain the provision that the immediate past president be retained in the POC board charter because it favored Vargas.

    “When you are talking of an organization or a company you are talking about the requirements of the position and not the person. Magulo ‘yong requirements pag inisip mo ‘yong tao,” said Romasanta, formerly the personnel chief of the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita.

    “What we want is that all POC board members be elected and nobody gets a free ride.”

    A veteran sports hand, Romasanta said the main problem is that “we are making certain amendments that can be considered ‘political.’ We are doing this under a political atmosphere because we are nearing an election. Pero kung wala ‘yan, walang problema.

    “I am all for (the) amendments but they should not be applied to the November political exercise but for the next one. Those aspiring for POC positions, especially those seeking re-election, should also abide by the same rules that got them elected in the first place,” he said.