TWO Philippine Olympic Committee Executive Board members are lukewarm to the proposal of POC president Rep. Bambol Tolentino to have the local Olympic body’s constitution and by-laws amended to exclude officials aged 70 and above in the coming polls in November.
Tolentino, 55, who is running for re-election, had publicly announced that he would push to revise the POC charter and set an age limit of 69-below on eligible candidates, which would be applied for the next POC election.
The POC committee on constitutional amendments is headed by boxing president Ricky Vargas, a known ally of Tolentino.
Based on Article 7, Section 2 of the POC charter, the amendment needs two-thirds vote of the POC regular membership to pass.
POC first vice president Joey Romasanta and board member Robert Mananquil of billiards are cool to Tolentino’s proposal.
“There is an ethics issue here. Kayo ang gumagawa ng amendments at pagkatapos kayo ang kakandidato,” Romasanta, the Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas president, noted. “Kung di ka mag-amend, di ka mananalo? That is proceeding from a position of weakness. You don’t load the dice bago maglaro.”
He added that it should be left to the POC general assembly to decide its elected leaders.
“Ang mga bumoboto diyan, alam nila kung sino ang puwede at sino ang hindi. You don’t discriminate (by age). Kung competent naman, bakit hindi? Kung hindi competent then di huwag botohin,” Romansanta, 75, added.
“You should not change the (POC election) rules now. It should apply to the next election,” he stressed.
To the claims of the Tolentino camp that it was he who had pressed amendments to the POC charter during the term of former POC president Jose Cojuangco Jr., Romasanta replied: “Iba ang perspective. The amendments that were made with the IOC were done after Peping (Cojuangco’s nickname) was already elected, not before.”
Mananquil, the Billiards and Snooker Confederation of the Philippines secretary general, claimed Tolentino was using the “backdoor” in amending the POC charter.
“He (Tolentino) must first discuss this matter with the POC board for approval before going to the general assembly for a vote to amend the constitution,” Mananquil said, adding he was open to the POC’s president’s plan but added it should be applied to the next POC election.
“It should be done not for this election but for the next Olympic cycle so there will be preparation and transition (for the next set of elected leaders),” he said.
He also proposed that the age limit should also apply to leaders of National Sports Associations “para magbakasyon na rin ‘yung iba na over-70 at bata ang papasok naman.”