Philippine Olympic Committee secretary general Atty. Edwin Gastanes will chair the electoral committee that will conduct and supervise elections for the Philippine national swimming association. (Contributed photo)

MANILA – The World Aquatics has confirmed the members of the electoral committee that will conduct and supervise elections for the Philippine national swimming association.

The electoral panel is comprised of the Philippine Olympic Committee legal team chaired by POC secretary-general Atty. Edwin Gastanes, Atty. Wharton Chan, Atty. Avelino Sumagui and Atty. Marcus Antonius Andaya.

The confirmatory letter dated March 7 and signed by World Aquatics Executive Director Brent Nowicki was emailed to the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and the Asian Swimming Federation.

“We would kindly request that you provide us with the contact details for these individuals as soon as possible,” the letter stated. “Upon receipt of such contact information, our office will make contact with the Committee and provide them with proposed electoral rules and a plan for holding elections.”

Gastanes, who was in Singapore on Wednesday attending a FIFA function, said the electoral committee will buckle down to work upon his return.

“We will peruse the documents and study all pertinent documents so that we can convene as soon as possible,” he said.

The World Aquatics suspended the Philippine Swimming Inc. (PSI) and ordered the conduct of elections for the national federation’s board of directors through the POC last Feb. 22.

The suspension stemmed from the PSI’s persistence against the World Aquatics’ instructions and resolutions.

“World Aquatics has tried to resolve the many issues with PSI, but PSI and in particular, certain members of its Executive [the President and Members of the Board of Trustees] have ever since vigorously resisted to any assistance and help for the necessary reforms, showing no interest and no willingness to act in accordance with World Aquatics Constitution nor with the principles enshrined in such Constitution,” the international federation said in an earlier letter.

The World Aquatics withdrew its recognition of the PSI Board last December and established a stabilization committee to run the PSI’s day-to-day operations.

The stabilization committee was composed of POC legal counsel Chan and deputy secretary general Valeriano “Bones” Floro and Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) senior vice president for corporate services group Arrey Perez.

The PSI wrote the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) requesting for a stay of execution of the World Aquatics decision to withdraw its recognition on the national sports association and the creation of the stabilization committee.

The CAS, an international body formed in 1984 to settle disputes related to sport through arbitration, denied the appeal.

The CAS informed the PSI of the decision in a 16-page letter dated Feb. 2, 2023, and signed by Dr. Elisabeth Steiner, Deputy President of the CAS Appeals Arbitration Division.

“The request for a stay of execution of the decision rendered by the FINA Bureau on 3 and 15 December 2022 filed by the Philippine Swimming Inc. on 20 December 2022 and supplemented on 12 and 19 January 2023 in the matter CAS/2022/9351 Philippine Swimming Inc. v. World Aquatics (formerly known as Federacion Internationale de Natation (FINA), is dismissed,” the CAS document said.

Following the dismissal of the appeal, the CAS has affirmed the World Aquatics’ order for the establishment of the stabilization committee.

Last month, the stabilization committee conducted trials at New Clark City for the national aquatics team to the Cambodia 32nd Southeast Asian Games scheduled from May 5-17. (PNA)