Pasig RTC rejects Vargas’ request for TRO

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The Pasig Regional Trial Court on Thursday rejected the request of Ricky Vargas for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that will put on hold the scheduled Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) election today at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club in Mandaluyong City.

Vargas, the president of Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines, was declared “ineligible” to run for POC president by the POC electoral committee headed by Frank Elizalde because of lack of required attendance in the POC General Assembly.

“The court’s denial of our application for restraining order is of course most disappointing. It would have opened up much needed space and possibilities for a winning approach to this whole saga. A TRO would have allowed all of us to step back, to agree and focus on finding solutions based on a singular criterion, namely what action would best serve our athletes’ overall welfare. If we were able to come together on that basis, we were confident that we wouldn’t need to go back to the courts to help us answer that question,” said Vargas’ lawyer Chito Salud.

“Mr. Vargas and Congressman Abraham Tolentino were driven by a sincere desire to provide an alternative approach to improving our sports program. They commit to continue their quest to empower our athletes and uplift Philippine sports,” he added.

Pasig RTC Presiding Judge Elma Rafallo-Lingan stated in her six-page decision that the court finds the plaintiffs (Vargas camp) have not adequately established their legal bases for the issuance of the TRO.

Meanwhile, Vargas said through a text message that the fight is not over yet.

“In the same order, the court set hearings for December 9 and 16, 2016 for the determination of the rightful definition of the term ‘active membership’ which is the bone of contention in this case. Ergo, the issue has not been settled with finality.”

“In the meantime, our candidates Cong. Alfredo Benitez (first vice-president), Gen. Lucas Managuelod (second vice-president) and Renauld Barrios (treasurer) will continue our crusade for change and reform in the POC. Congressman Tolentino and I seek the full support of all NSAs for these candidates. We need them to provide check and balance in the POC,” said Vargas.

With Vargas out of the way, POC President Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, who has been occupying the post for the past 12 years will run virtually unopposed anew just like in 2012.

“I’m inviting them to join me in my crusade to help the athletes,” Cojuangco told The Manila Times in a phone interview. “It is time to set aside our differences and work harmoniously as sports leaders. I’m inviting everyone to go to Wack Wack and vote.”

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