The country’s tennis stakeholders comprising the Unified Tennis Group have expressed their disgruntlement over the latest Philippine Tennis Association (Philta) elections, claiming it committed numerous violations.
“We did not participate in the recent election because it violated several rules. Even the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) did not participate and is not recognizing the results,” said long-time tennis patron Jean Henri Lhuillier.
Among the violations committed was allowing lawyer Tony Cablitas to become a board member as replacement to Bobby Ortiz, who resigned sometime in April. Cablitas was eventually voted as president during the said election.
“We have strongly questioned the timing and the manner of appointment of Atty. Cablitas as Mr. Ortiz’s replacement. It happened too quickly and just a few weeks prior to the elections. How can Atty. Cablitas run and what is his program for Philippine tennis?” said Philta vice-president Randy Villanueva.
POC has nullified the resignation of Philta president Mayor Olivarez last July 2016 and the UTG pointed out that it was not the incumbent president who called the recent elections but secretary general Romeo Magat. Mayor Olivarez did not also participate in the polls.
“The fact that even the incumbent president did not participate in the recent elections just showed what a mockery it was,” said Philta board member Gerard Maronilla.
According to the UTG, led by tennis supporters Cebuana Lhuillier, Palawan Pawnshop, Wilson, Toby’s and B-Meg, Olivarez has earlier agreed to postpone the elections until all issues are ironed out. But Magat proceeded with it even without Olivarez’s and POC’s nod.
In July 2016 and Feb 2017, Philta held controversial elections which Lhuillier’s group had protested. The first was a snap poll electing Buddy Andrada after the resignation of Olivarez, and the other was when Andrada reneged from his word that he was resigning and declared himself still the Philta president. Both elections were nullified by the POC.
In fact, the Philta board met late last year and agreed before International Tennis Federation (ITF) president David Haggerty and the POC to hold a proper election.
“It was agreed that the presidential aspirants must present sound programs and plans for the development of tennis in the Philippines. Lhuillier has been ready to present his programs and plans since last year. We want to see what the plans of Atty. Cablitas are. Tennis in the Philippines has been suffering for far too long and the Philippine tennis community deserves someone better to handle it,” said Villanueva.