by Nick Giongco
In a span of less than three years, the leadership of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) changed anew on Tuesday following the sudden resignation of Ricky Vargas during an executive board meeting at the Philsports in Pasig City.
Vargas had taken over the POC presidency in February 2018 after winning a court-ordered election but he informed the executive board about his resignation in a letter coursed through POC chairman Bambol Tolentino.
“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.
POC first vice-president Joey Romasanta automatically takes over the presidency via succession.
Vargas, 67, explained that “corporate responsibilities and family sentiments played a big role in his decision (to resign)”.
“I ask for the understanding of all concerned, most especially the athletes and NSAs who have supported my initiatives in the organization,” said Vargas, whose grandfather Jorge Vargas, also became the POC president.
Despite his departure, Vargas vowed to lend a hand to Philippine sports being an official of the MVP Sports Foundation and head of the boxing association.
To ensure the smooth transition of leadership, Vargas instructed POC secretary-general Patrick Gregorio to preside in the handover to Romasanta, who was obviously stunned by the development.
“I even had breakfast with him and I was not told about his plans,” said Romasanta, who used to head Project-Gintong Alay in the 1980s.
Romasanta admitted that the foremost concern is to fast-track everything relative to the country’s staging of the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 Southeast Asian Games.
“We have to assess and regroup we need to find out what we have what we don’t have,” said the 74-year-old Romasanta, who was scheduled to meet with Philippine Sports Commission chairman and SEAG chief of mission Butch Ramirez later Tuesday.
“I would like to have a more involved POC in the hosting of the SEAG,” he added.
A General Assembly of the POC has been scheduled for June 25 at the GSIS Building.