by Nick Giongco
The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has ordered the Philippine Tennis Association (Philta) to defer holding an election for a new set of officers on March 24 until all requirements for an orderly transfer of power has been satisfied, POC official Charles Ho said yesterday.
The POC apparently was not satisfied about the list of voting members and Ho has advised Philta secretary general Romy Magat to revise the list to include only legitimate stakeholders to participate in the polls
“I am suggesting a democratic and representative election among true tennis stakeholders comprising qualified members of Philta in accordance with their own by-laws,” said Ho, who has been assigned to oversee the election.
“Next requirement would be to comply with documentary and procedural rules to constitute a valid election,” he added.
The decision is likely to raise questions on whether the POC is sincere about helping Philta recover from years of neglect because by postponing the election it appears to be not totally committed to changing the leadership of the association.
The POC is now imposing some rules which did not apply when retired military officer Salvador Andrada held sway at the association and was followed by the Olivarez clan led by Dr. Pablo Olivarez and his son, Edwin. These people were at the helm of Philta for over 30 years.
When Andrada, 82, who was president for 20 years, returned as Philta head after some 10 years of absence, stakeholders revolted and many broke away from Philta’ umbrella.
This prompted the POC to declare Andrada’s election as illegal, and called for new polls.
It was presumed that tennis patron Jean Henri Lhuillier would become new president. Lhuillier was head of a faction that walked out after Andrada’s election and several tennis groups joined his protest, prompting the POC to call for new polls.
Whether a reorganization will happen is not certain anymore as the POC tries to impose additional rules and requirements.