Ricky Vargas has resigned as President of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) following a dispute which has threatened to derail the country's preparations for this year's Southeast Asian Games.
According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Vargas suddenly quit his post less than six months before the Games after he was questioned for his involvement in the issues surrounding the nation's hosting of the event.
Vargas, President of the POC since March 2018, has been replaced on a temporary basis by first vice-president Joey Romasanta.
The International Olympic Committee had reportedly intervened to tell the POC to address the problems prior to a Board meeting earlier this week, where the 67-year-old tendered his resignation.
The row centres on the creation of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organising Committee (PHISGOC) Foundation, which the POC Board allege was set up without its approval.
Members of the POC believe an Ad-hoc Committee, established in 2017, is the main body spearheading preparations for the multi-sport event.
According to reports, Vargas, who was controversially excluded from the elections for POC President in 2016, was among the eight original members who helped create the PHISGOC.
Vargas has decided to step down to make way for "sports leaders who have the time and inclination needed to lead the POC more effectively".
Romasanta, who will lead the troubled body until new elections are held, insisted Vargas' resignation would not have a negative effect on the Southeast Asian Games, scheduled to take place from November 30 to December 11.
"Anybody would regard this as a huge honour as POC president but not under these circumstances and it is going to be very difficult," he said, according to BusinessWorld Online.
"But at the same time we have to pick up the pieces and see what we have and what we don’t have, especially with the Southeast Asian Games hosting challenge.
"We have to regroup, communicate with the Philippine Sports Commission to go through the plans and programmes to make the Games successful and work with PHISGOC chairman Alan Peter Cayetano.
"This is for the country after all.
"We hope to be better organised to ensure the success of the Games."