POC tackles plea to postpone polls


    THE Philippine Olympic Committee general assembly referred the appeal of weightlifting chief Monico Puentevella to postpone the Nov. 27 polls and the composition of the electoral committee to the POC Executive board for “immediate deliberation” during its online session yesterday.

    The assembly agreed to the proposal of POC chairman Steve Hontiveros, who presided over the meeting, after the seventy-something Puentevella made an impassioned plea to defer the polls in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a source.

    The former Bacolod City mayor and congressman cited his inability to fly out of the Negros Oriental provincial capital, telling the body “nakikiusap ako at nag-mamakaawa kami sa inyo to postpone the elections,” the source quoted the weightlifting head as saying.

    The former Asian Weightlifting Federation president also cited the fact that the International Weightlifting Federation has decided to reset its own elections to March 2021.

    He also questioned the propriety of appointing Rep. Eric Martinez, the chairman of the House Youth and Sports Development Committee, as member of the POC electoral committee that will oversee the POC election.

    He noted that POC president Bambol Tolentino, a congressman from the lone district of Tagaytay who is running for reelection, is a fellow lawmaker.

    “With all due respect to Congressman Martinez, with whom I am not acquainted with, I appeal to president Tolentino to have another (person) in the electoral committee out of delicadeza,” Puentevella pointed out, the source said.

    Tolentino said he would agree to Puentevella’s request in having Martinez replaced but was firm on the polls proceeding based on the POC’s constitution and by-laws.

    International Olympic Committee Executive Board member Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski, who joined the meeting, clarified the IOC was not “ordering” the POC to hold elections, adding National Olympic Committees follow what is contained in their respective constitution and by-laws regarding the exercise.