Vargas steps down as POC president

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 18 2019 02:11 PM | Updated as of Jun 18 2019 04:47 PM

Ricky Vargas, Philippine Olympic Committee president visits a training session of the Gilas Pilipinas held at the Meralco Gym in Ortigas, Pasig on June 17, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) Ricky Vargas on Tuesday tendered his "irrevocable resignation" as president of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), after he was questioned over his involvement in various controversies that hounded the country's hosting of the upcoming Southeast Asian Games.

In a letter addressed to the POC's Executive Board, Vargas said he was resigning "effective immediately."

"After much introspection, I have determined that there would be other sports leaders who would have the time and inclination needed to lead the POC more effectively," said Vargas.

Vargas was elected as POC president in February 2018, ending the long tenure of Peping Cojuangco after a controversial election process.

But his period in office came to an abrupt end on Tuesday, after POC board members questioned his involvement in various issues – especially in the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) Foundation, Inc., and the questionable contract with a company that aims to become the official outfitter of the SEA Games.

Vargas is one of the eight original incorporators of Phisgoc Foundation, which was not recognized by the POC board members.

Phisgoc Foundation is led by Taguig Conressman-elect Alan Peter Cayetano, who is also the chairman of the original Phisgoc created with the POC and the Philippine Sports Commission.

Vargas did not grant interviews after leaving the POC headquarters at the PhilSports compound, where the board held an executive session.

In his resignation letter, Vargas requested POC secretary-general Patrick Gregorio "to assist the incoming president in the smooth transition of leadership, until the new president shall have appointed his own secretary-general."

Former POC first vice-president Joey Romasanta will take over Vargas' position as president.

Robert Bachman of the squash association is set to be tapped as the new secretary-general.

"I ask for the understanding of all concerned, most especially the athletes and NSAs who have supported my initiatives in the organization," said Vargas.

"Rest assured, I will continue to support Philippine sports in my private capacity, particularly as an official of the MVP Sports Foundation and as president of ABAP," he concluded.

The board is set to call an extraordinary general assembly next week.

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