WE are the majority and not the “Group of 7.”
“We are being labeled as the ‘Group of 7,’ naging infamy na ‘yong name na ‘yon. We are actually the majority of the elected officials of the Philippine Olympic Committee Executive Board,” Atty. Clint Aranas said in an online press conference yesterday.
Aranas, a member of the board, reminded POC president Bambol of this fact after the latter tagged the archery chief and six other colleagues in the 12-man board as the “Group of 7” after deliberations on two key amendments of the POC charter ended in a stalemate last Friday.
The proposed charter changes were excluding candidates aged 70 and above from running in the POC polls in November and reorganizing the composition of the board that would make all its members elected by the general assembly at large.
Besides Aranas, Tolentino was alluding to POC chairman Steve Hontiveros, first vice president Joey Romasanta, second vice president Col. (ret) Jeff Tamayo, treasurer Julian Camacho, auditor Jonne Go and board member Robert Mananquil.
Romasanta, Go, Camacho and Mananquil also joined the virtual press briefing yesterday.
“You are talking to the original representatives of the general assembly who were elected in office. We are the majority, not the minority,” Aranas reiterated, adding that he was willing to have the minutes of last Friday’s meeting made public in the spirit of fairness and transparency.
“I am willing to waive my right for the minutes of the meeting to be shown to the public at large. So you can see what really transpired,” he said.
“We (majority of the board members) were elected even before they got elected,” Romasanta pointed out.
Tolentino was not available for comment yesterday.
Romasanta and the other six POC leaders were members of board when Jose Cojuangco Jr. was reelected as POC president in 2016 until he was ousted in a snap election two years ago with boxing chief Ricky Vargas emerging as the new head of the local Olympic body.
Citing work and personal reasons, Vargas resigned last year, with Tolentino, who occupied the post of POC chairman, running and getting elected as the new president.
“I support the minutes of the meeting last Friday to be made public because there’s nothing to hide,” said Go.
“If making the minutes (of Friday’s meeting) available to the public will clear the air, by all means I’m for it,” Romasanta echoed.
The group said that making the deliberations public will show they were not against reforming the POC charter, contrary to the perception conveyed by Tolentino’s statements.
Contrary to the claims of the Tolentino camp, Aranas said “we have been cooperative and not adversarial” in approving majority of the proposals submitted by the POC committee on constitutional amendments headed by Vargas.
“Contrary to the allegations of the Tolentino group, what we approved were not merely ‘cosmetic’ proposals which can be shown by the minutes of the meeting that we had in our two sessions last week,” Aranas explained. “They were quite substantial.”
Among the changes approved, he said, was barring individuals to be the head of two National Sports Associations, which would affect Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez, who is the president of fencing and pentathlon associations.
He said their next move is “to convey to the POC leadership our intention to hold another meeting so that we can resolve the pending issues of the age cap and the composition of the board. We have a responsibility to the POC general assembly to pursue this to the end.”