Vargas backs POC move asking PHISGOC to submit financial report

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    FORMER Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas yesterday backed the POC general assembly resolution last Sept. 30 asking the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee for its overdue report, including the audited financial statements, on the 30th SEA Games that ended more than 10 months ago.

    “I am very supportive of this resolution because it is something that is correct and right for the POC to ask for that,” Vargas, the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines president said.

    “We are requesting an accounting from PHISGOC, specifically Tats Suzara, because I don’t think that they were able to answer it,” added the boxing chief, referring to PHISGOC Foundation Inc. president and chief operating officer Ramon “Tats” Suzara.

    “That (submission of the PHISGOC report) should be done. I and the POC are not hiding anything,” Vargas said.

    The PHISGOC failed to meet the Oct. 10 deadline set by the local Olympic body to submit the report, including the financial statements.

    This was among the conditions contained in the agreement that PHISGOC signed with the POC and Philippine Sports Commission on Aug. 15, 2019 before the national government released funding for the operation and management of the 30th SEA Games.

    Citing personal and business reasons, Vargas stepped down as POC president last June 18, 2019, paving the way for special POC polls last July 28, 2019 where Rep. Bambol Tolentino, then the POC chairman, beat athletics head Philip Ella Juico 24-20 for the presidency.

    “We appreciate this statement of support of the POC resolution by Mr. Vargas because it supports our quest for transparency in the POC,” said World Archery of the Philippines president and POC Executive board member Atty. Clint Aranas.

    Aranas revealed that he and six other members of the 13-man POC board received a letter yesterday from POC secretary general Atty. Edwin Gastanes declining a meeting they requested to discuss the SEA Games issue in a special meeting this Thursday.

    Gastanes, invoking a technicality, said the group of Aranas cannot claim that it is the majority because “Mr. Nikko Huelgas, the Athletes’ Commission representative to the board, is the 14th member. His place on the board is in compliance with the IOC guidelines on Athletes’ Commission which was issued in 2015 and most recently revised by the IOC Executive Board on 26 March 2019.

    “The majority of the current board is eight,” Gastanes replied last Oct. 18 in a letter to the board members, a copy of which was obtained by Malaya-Business Insight yesterday, explaining the reasons why the petition was turned down.

    “Factually, Mr. Huelgas has been recognized by the board and confirmed by the POC General Assembly. He has been allowed to cast his vote most recently during the deliberations to the proposed amendments to the constitution.”

    Huelgas is a two-time Southeast Asian Games men’s triathlon champion and affiliated with Triathlon Association of the Philippines president Tom Carrasco, who is running for chairman under the banner of incumbent POC president Rep. Bambol Tolentino in the Nov. 27 polls.

    But POC first vice president Joey Romasanta, also a signatory to the Oct. 15 letter, noted that while Huelgas was accommodated during the POC board’s deliberations “nothing in our POC constitution and by-laws states that he is an official member of the POC executive board. Nothing is set in stone.”