View Full Version : Declaration of concern for Philippine sports... Including pool (PART 1)

05-06-2009, 09:11 PM

AS leaders of national sports associations (NSAs) in the Philippines, we are issuing this declaration of concern about the situation now prevailing in Philippine sports. In a series of arbitrary acts, the leadership of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has interfered brazenly in the internal affairs of NSAs, trampling on their autonomy and rights, making a mockery of their elections and betraying the basic principles of the POC and the POC General Assembly.

Instead of atoning for their ineffective leadership of the Philippine contingent in the Beijing Olympics last August and launching a program of reform around which all can rally, POC president Jose Cojuangco Jr. and the POC Executive Board have been obsessed with preserving their hold on power and have sought to install illegally their chosen leaders in various NSAs.

They have carried out this agenda by using a resolution surreptitiously included as part of the President’s Report in the January 24, 2007 meeting of the POC General Assembly. On the pretext that an NSA cannot resolve an internal dispute, the POC board has invoked its supposed authority to mediate and arbitrate and inflicted its will on the association. By doing so, it has willfully ignored and violated our basic rule that the POC General Assembly must ratify any arbitration decision by the POC Board on an internal NSA dispute.

The list of affected NSAs is alarming and growing:

On January 24, 2006, Dr. Leonora Fe S. Brawner submitted her “irrevocable” resignation as president of the National Archery Association of the Philippines (NAAP). In October 2008, Councilor Renato Bartolome was elected as president. This was communicated to the POC, but the latter insisted that it would still recognize Dr. Brawner as president. NAAP’s Board of Trustees, members and athletes signed a manifesto supporting the election of Councilor Bartolome, repudiating Dr. Brawner’s leadership and denouncing POC’s interference as in violation of Philippine laws, the Olympic Charter and the POC Charter. Despite this, the POC insisted in recognizing Dr. Brawner not only as president, but as NAAP’s representative to the General Assembly. It also recognizes Ms. Teresita Lim as acting secretary-general although she was not elected as such by the Board of Trustees.
Not surprisingly, Dr. Brawner voted for Cojuangco in the POC elections in November 2008.

In a direct challenge to the duly elected leadership of the Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines (ICFP), the POC board supported an illegal election called by disgruntled members in December 2008 at the Amoranto Velodrome in Quezon City on the same day that the ICFP was holding its board meeting in Tagaytay City. The organization did not take it lying down, however. Despite a POC directive not to proceed, the ICFP held its elections in January 2009, and installed as president Mayor Abraham Tolentino of Tagaytay City. The elections were witnessed and recognized by the Union Cyclists International (UCI). The two sets of officers attend POC assembly meetings together, with neither one officially able to vote. The POC board recommended the holding of another election on May 9, 2009 using the 2003 list of voters and informed the UCI about it. The international federation said that another election was “out of the question” and the use of a 2003 voting list “would be an affront to all those who have worked hard for cycling in the Philippines this past 6 years.”

In 2004, during the first year of Mr. Cojuangco’s first term as POC president, the POC installed Mr. Mark Joseph as the provisional head of the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association (PASA) despite the fact that he was not a PASA member or a regional director, and was only a technical official. Joseph got the nod with the proviso that he would conduct regional elections in some regions and afterwards an election of PASA board of directors that would then choose a new PASA leader.
No PASA elections have been held since despite the provision for yearly elections in the by-laws. Association members have been clamoring for elections to no avail.

Because they could not win its support, Mr. Cojuangco and the POC board have sought to downgrade the status of the Philippine Dragon Boat Association (PBDA) from voting member to non-voting member – on the flimsy ground that the sport is one of the disciplines of the International Canoe-Kayak Federation (ICF). The issue had earlier been discussed and rejected by the POC board during the first term of Mr. Cojuangco because of the support for the PBDA by the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF), the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and the SEA Games Federation (SEAGF). But the issue has now been revived by the POC board in order to take away a vote against Mr. Cojuangco. The matter is unresolved to this date.

The legitimate leadership of the Philippine Badminton Association (PBA) is under challenge by a breakaway faction because of the interference of the POC leadership. In September 2008, prior to the POC elections, one faction headed by former national coach Erroll Chan called for a special general membership meeting and conducted an election to replace PBA president Mrs. Amelita Ramos. She contended that the voting was illegal because her two-year term had yet to end in 2009. In November 2008, Mrs. Ramos informed the POC that the PBA would hold its elections in January 2009, and submitted the required election documents. The POC did not give approval, but the elections proceeded without a POC representative present. Eighteen of the 29 registered voters voted in favor of Mrs. Ramos. The election was witnessed by Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Harry Angping, Mr. Eric Loritizo representing POC chairman Monico Fuentebella, and Mr. Go Teng Kok of POC. Mr. Chan and his group continue to contest this election. It is noteworthy that in the January 2007 PBA election wherein Mrs. Ramos was unanimously reelected as president, it was agreed by the general membership present, including Mr. Chan, that the next election be held on January 31, 2009 (two years after).

In a bid to save the NSA presidency of POC secretary general Steve Hontiveros, the POC issued a directive that the scheduled elections of the Philippine Bowling Congress (PBC) in January 2009 be postponed on the grounds that its membership list should first be cleared and its charter should be patterned after the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas. The POC succeeded in derailing the vote. But in March 2009, the PBC conducted its election anyway, and installed Mr. Mariano Tamayo as president and Ms. Olivia Bong Coo as secretary-general. The POC board has urged Mr. Hontiveros to contest the validity of the election, but he seems personally weary of the controversy. Meanwhile, Mr. Hontiveros continues to serve as POC secretary-general and member of the POC board without representing an NSA.

In elections held in October 2008, just before the POC elections in November, POC treasurer Julian Camacho lost his post as president of the Wushu Federation of the Philippines (WFP). The new board, however, allowed him to cast the vote for the federation in the POC elections, which he thereafter cast for Mr. Cojuangco. After the elections, Mr. Camacho refused to relinquish his post on the advice of the POC leadership. The board now insists that Mr. Camacho is still Wushu president and that WFP should amend its charter to allow him to remain. The WFP board and members are loudly protesting the actions of the POC. Mr. Camacho held his own election on April 25, 2009 after creating a new board of directors. Disregarding the original list of members, they voted for a new president and Mr. Camacho appointed himself as secretary-general. All the athletes, majority of the members and chapters do not support the new board and officers created by Mr. Camacho and the POC.

(SEE PART 2 >>>>>)

05-06-2009, 09:11 PM
In November 2008, the Billiards & Snooker Congress of the Philippines (BSCP) notified the POC that it would hold its elections on December 5, 2008. But the POC secretary-general asked that the elections be deferred because of certain documentary requirements. When the BSCP completed the documents and reset the elections to April 29, 2009, the POC board declared that it was recognizing a splinter group’s call for a March 31 election. Just as alarming, the board mandated that the BSCP use a 2005 voting list instead of a current one in order to manufacture a dubious majority of resigned and dismissed members of the association. The POC board did not allow the use of the BSCP membership lists for 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. The legality of the March 31 election is now before the courts. Meanwhile, the BSCP held its General Membership Meeting and Board Elections on April 29, 2009, without a POC representative present. It elected Mr. Sebastian Chua as the new president.

In Mr. Cojuangco’s own sports association, the Equestrian Association of the Philippines (EAP), the POC president abruptly called off the membership meeting and board elections set for March 31, 2009 – upon learning that he would be challenged for its leadership and faced certain defeat. He declared that the election announcement was a secretarial mistake, and that the EAP’s by-laws did not require elections until the year 2012. A majority of members contend that the by-laws clearly call for elections to be held on March 31, 2009, and that the provision for a four-year term would only apply to directors and officers elected then. After the elections failed to take place on the date prescribed in the by-laws, the members petitioned for a special membership meeting and elections, a measure provided for in the EAP’s by-laws. The POC chief fought the initiative with every weapon in his arsenal – including having certain members stricken from the voters’ list and declaring the elections illegal. But the protesting group proceeded with the elections on April 23, 2009 and elected Rep. Carissa Coscolluela as the new president of EAP.

The Wrestling Association of the Philippines (WAP) wrote the POC leadership of its intent to hold its national council meeting and election on December 19, 2008. The POC declined to send a representative; instead, it requested on December 15, 2008 that WAP defer the election. The Council met and decided in good faith to defer the elections, but arrived at a unanimous resolution to retain the incumbent officials.

On April 4, 2009. a national council meeting and election was illegally called by Mr. Albert Balde, auditor of the association. The WAP constitution and by-laws do not authorize an auditor to call for a meeting, much more an election. WAP President Vincent Piccio met with Mr. Cojuangco to protest the election as a gross violation of the constitution -- to no avail. The POC sent Mr. Andrada as POC representative to the April 19, 2005 election, and conferred recognition on the illegally elected officers.

All these battles and irregularities disfigure national sports today for one reason alone: Mr. Cojuangco and the POC board are fomenting them in order to keep their hold on the POC presidency, and to prevent any move to unseat him as POC president by November this year. The NSAs and sports leaders affected all happened to be non-supporters of Mr. Cojuangco.
Many in our sports community and the general public are asking: Do Mr. Cojuangco and the POC board have the power to rule over Philippine sports in this way? Who conferred on them this magisterial power that rivals those of kings and despots?

The answer is NO, they do not have the power.

First, the Olympic Charter, which gives life to the POC, does not confer this power on Mr. Cojuangco and the POC board. On the contrary, the POC resolution and their actions are a travesty of the Charter, which states that “rights and obligations are reciprocal” among and between the different constituent groups comprising the Olympic Movement.

Second, the POC General Assembly – the supreme authority in our national committee -- did not confer this power on the present POC leadership. The controversial resolution, which is the source of all the mischief, was never tabled, discussed or debated by the assembly. It was smuggled in for approval before the unsuspecting assembly of NSA presidents.

Third, these arbitrary acts are in direct violation of Philippine laws governing non-profit organizations and voluntary associations, and impugn the right to autonomy of NSAs under Republic Act 6847 (Section 13). The POC leadership has disregarded them all, outrageously claiming absolute jurisdiction over Philippine sports.

We submit that Mr. Cojuangco and the POC board have arrogated powers that they do not have, and that the fruits of their arbitrary acts must not be allowed to stand.

The situation that has arisen from their actions could not be more detrimental to the welfare and development of Philippine sports. With such irresponsible leadership at the helm and absent a better vision of the future, there is no way for our sports to go but down.

In view therefore of the gravity of the situation, we have agreed to collectively bring to light the state of misgovernance in the POC today and we will seek every remedy available -- in the Olympic Movement, in the courts and on the bar of public opinion – to effect changes in the entire POC system and set aright the wrongs committed.

We want to put in place a system where sports leaders, athletes and stakeholders can truly join together in developing the sporting life of our people, using their talents and energies to compete with other nations, instead of fighting one another.

Signed on the 6th of May 2009
at the Quezon City Sports Club,
E. Rodriguez Ave., Quezon City:

Billiards & Snooker Congress of the Philippines

Philippine Badminton Association

Equestrian Association of the Phils.

Secretary General
Wushu Federation Philippines

National Archery Association of Philippines

Save PASA Movement

Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines

Treasurer & Secretary-General
Wrestling Association of the Philippines