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Miko Vargas elected PSI president in ‘transition year’

Michael ‘Miko’ Vargas, a long-time supporter of swimming, was elected as the ‘transition’ president of Philippine Swimming, Inc. (PSI).

The 43-year-old Vargas, the second child of former PBA chairman and Boxing Association chief Ricky Vargas, was unanimously chosen by the 11-man Board of Trustees during the PSI National Congress and Election.

This election marks a pivotal moment for the association as it enters a “transition year” before the regular election in 2025.

Expressing his joy and gratitude, Vargas acknowledged the opportunity bestowed upon him by the swimming community.

He particularly thanked Cong. Eric Buhain, who has been instrumental in the association’s success and growth.

“I’m very happy and proud that you gave me the opportunity to become the head of the swimming association. Of course, I expressed by gratitude to Cong. Eric Buhain who is the real heart of the association. I am the president and definitely work the best I can, but Cong. Eric preferred to serve all of us, get closer to all stakeholders for the future of swimming,” said Vargas, former Customs collector and patron of the swimming program of the Congress of Philippine Aquatics, Inc.

However, the original PSI denounced the event, claiming that it violated the corporation’s by-laws.

In a statement, the PSI incorporators expressed their disappointment and noted that the election did not adhere to the provisions outlined in the Amended By-Laws of PSI registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Revised Corporation Code.

“It has come to our attention that an event called ‘National Congress and Election of Board of Trustees and Officers for Philippine Swimming Inc.’ pushed through on June 8, 2023 at East Ocean Palace in Parañaque City,” said the incporators of the PSI in a statement.

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“We feel that it is our duty and obligation to inform you that the calling and conduct of the said event is not in accordance with the provisions of the Amended By-Laws of Philippine Swimming Inc. (PSI) registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Revised Corporation Code. It is quite disappointing and disheartening to know that third parties, who are not active members in good standing of PSI, are taking steps to attempt to take over the functions and duties of the current PSI Board. The clear provisions of the Amended By-Laws of PSI involving membership, election and voting procedures, and nomination and election of trustees and officers, were not followed or respected,” it continued.

“We tried to keep our silence in the hope that the rule of law and the provisions of the Amended By-Laws and the Revised Corporation Code would ultimately prevail – but to no avail. Accordingly, we will continue to function and carry out our duties as the legitimate Board of Trustees of PSI as mandated by law and the PSI’s Amended By-Laws.”

Prior to the Executive Board election, a separate election was held to select the 11-man Board of Trustees. Regional representatives from the 19 regions, including the National Capital region, participated in Zoom meetings and elections in their respective areas.

Vargas and Olympian Jessie Lacuna (Area 1); Isagani Corpuz and Emmanuel Manialung (Area 2), Buhain and Roel Rosales (Area 3), Cris Bancal and Jessie Arriola (Area 4), Ronald Talosig and Angelica Leonardo (Area 5) and Marie Dimanche (sectoral) were elected as board members.

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“Our problem has been reduced. We’re very, happy, very democratic everything went through the process, very well represented we really saw the essence of inclusivity,” said Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino.

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