PhilCycling president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino was elected the new Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president on Sunday, besting Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association president Philip Ella Juico in a close battle at the Century Park Hotel in Manila.
Tolentino, also the congressman of Tagaytay City, garnered 24 votes of the 44 voting national sports associations, while former Philippine Sports Commission chairman Juico secured 20 votes.
“Thank you very much for all those who support[ed] [me] and hopefully the squabble among leaders has finally ended. So I think as what the saying goes, let’s set aside the differences and move forward, let’s all be united and focused on the Southeast Asian Games this year, [and the] Paralympics and Olympics next year,” Tolentino told reporters after being declared winner by the POC election committee.
“The first order of business is to get rid of Richard Bachmann [as membership committee head] and Charlie Ho [as secretary general],” he said.
Tolentino added that he would reappoint Patrick Gregorio of boxing as secretary general. He offered the deputy secretary general position to Richard Gomez of fencing.
He said he was eyeing Lucas Managuelod of Muay Thai to become his membership committee head.
Tolentino’s runningmate, Robert Aventajado of taekwondo, was not fortunate, though, as Juico’s runningmate Steve Hontiveros of handball claimed the chairmanship seat with a 26-18 vote.
Clint Aranas of archery from the camp of Juico and Cynthia Carrion of gymnastics from the side of Tolentino were reelected as board members, with 24 and 23 votes, respectively.
Monico Puentevella of weightlifting (21) from the Tolentino camp and Lailani Velasco of aquatics (19) from the Juico side lost their board membership bids.
Juico accepted his defeat and said he was ready to devote his time to Philippine athletics for the country’s hosting this year of the 30th Southeast Asian Games set on November 30 to December 11 at New Clark City in Tarlac.
“That is the outcome, and you win some and you lose some. Perhaps there are other opportunities that will be open. Some windows close, some windows will open,” Juico said.
Tolentino and three other elected officials — Hontiveros, Aranas and Carrion — will serve in the unfinished term of Ricky Vargas of boxing, who resigned irrevocably as POC president on June 18 until November 2020.
Tolentino served as chairman of the POC during Vargas’ short term.
There were 46 voting members, but two from rugby abstained and shooting did not send any representative to vote.
Hidilyn Diaz of weightlifting and Henry Dagmil of athletics, both representatives of the Athletes Commission, and International Olympic Committee (IOC) representative Mikee Cojuangco Jaworski also cast their votes.
Tolentino, Hontiveros, Aranas and Carrion will join POC First Vice President Joey Romasanta of volleyball, Second Vice President Jeff Tamayo of soft tennis, treasurer Julian Camacho of wushu, auditor Jonne Go, and board members Prospero “Butch” Pichay of chess and Robert Mananquil of billiards as new POC officers.
The IOC observer during the election was India Olympic Committee president Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra.