Rio Olympics sil-ver medalist Hidi-lyn Diaz expressed her frustration over the ongoing leadership crisis in the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
“I’m speaking as an athlete. We are the one who compete overseas, we are the ones who train everyday and we are doing our best to win,” said Diaz, 27, in Filipino in an online interview. “I was saddened by the conflict I witnessed in the POC General Assembly last Monday. We, the Filipino athletes are the one who will suffer because of this unresolved conflict.”
The POC executive board on Monday announced that it will hold a new election on February 23 at Wack Wack but gave no assurance Alliance of Boxing Associations in the Philippines president Ricky Vargas and PhilCycling president Abraham Tolentino will be allowed to run and challenge incumbent POC president Jose Peping Cojuangco.
“It pains me to see that the organization that is supposed to act as the guiding light of sports in our country is so divided on an issue that is so basic – electing its leaders through a free, fair and credible election. Sports is supposed to be insulated from politics,” added Diaz.
“I would like to appeal to our leaders today to put an end to all these political noise and conduct a free, fair and credible elections that will determine the leadership of sports in the country, and guide us, your national athletes, in our quest to bring honor to our country.”
Monico Puentevella of weightlifting and Richard Fernandez of shooting were denied entry into the POC extraordinary general assembly citing technical issues in the two national sports association.
Philippine Sports Commission commissioner Ramon Fernandez was also not allowed to attend the event as an observer.
Last December 1, Judge Maria Gracia Cadiz-Casaclang of RTC branch 155 ruled that the POC executive board has abused its authority in disqualifying Vargas and Tolention to run in the last POC election. The court ordered the POC to hold a new election on February 23.