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‘Volunteer’ POC execs get paid by Phisgoc

Julius Manicad

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Ranking executives of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) drew salaries and received other perks from the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) during the buildup for the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games last year.

In the POC executive council meeting last Tuesday, POC board member Cynthia Carrion admitted that some top POC officials were on the payroll of the organizing body, a violation of the POC constitution that states that council officers must perform duties and functions on “voluntary basis.”

Carrion said at least four POC members were paid around “P65,000 to P75,000” a month, but other sources claimed that they were paid around P100,000 to P250,000 depending on their positions and role within the organizing body.

Interestingly, some of these POC members who were on the Phisgoc payroll are seeking elective positions in the council elections this November.

Chaired by former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano with his former high school teacher Ramon “Tats” Suzara as president and chief operating officer, Phisgoc is currently in hot water over questionable expenses and its failure to submit an audited financial report.

Former Government Service Insurance System president Clint Aranas is leading the majority in the POC executive board that is demanding report from Phisgoc to know how the billion-peso fund during the SEA Games was used.

Based on the accounting rules and regulations of the Commission on Audit, a body that drew public fund must liquidate within 60 days.

Aranas, a taxation lawyer and former deputy commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, said it has been 10 months now since the SEA Games had ended, but Phisgoc has yet to show a financial statement in accordance to the tripartite agreement it forged with the Olympic council and the Philippine Sports Commission.

With that, the POC is preparing to file breach of contract charges against the embattled organizing committee.

It, however, seems that some POC executives would be implicated in the case as they were receiving salaries and other perks from Phisgoc, which reportedly drew P1.4 billion in government funds on top of private money coming from donations, sponsorships, ticket sales, merchandises, broadcast rights and other marketing efforts.

Daily Tribune obtained a recording of the board meeting in which Carrion admitted that they were paid by the organizing body despite their volunteer status as POC executives.

“But it’s not a monthly thing; maybe just around four or five times,” Carrion told the POC board members when asked about the amount that POC members received from Phisgoc.

“It’s around P75,000 or P65,000. It’s P65,000 to P75,000 – maybe around that. I’m not very sure.”

In a telephone conversation with Daily Tribune, Carrion admitted that Phisgoc paid her on the basis of being the director of ceremonies during the biennial meet.

“Yes, I received money from Phisgoc,” Carrion, who is still in the United States, said.

“But I think I am entitled to that amount because I was the director for ceremonies. I worked hard for it. And it’s not just me – a lot of POC members also got paid.”

Carrion admitted that she didn’t sign any employment contract with the organizing body.

“Well, we don’t have a contract. It was just a simple appointment paper,” she said.

“I worked hard for it and I got paid – as simple as that.”

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