After earning a fresh mandate as president of the Philippine Olympic Committee, Jose “Peping” Cojuangco extended his hand to the opposition and talked about his immediate plans aimed at keeping Philippine sports on track.
The 82-year-old Cojuangco ran unopposed yesterday, garnering 26 votes from the 37 voters present. There are 43 qualified voters in this elections but six of them failed to vote, including boxing under Ricky Vargas and cycling under Rep. Abraham Tolentino.
Vargas and Tolentino filed their candidacies for president and chairman, respectively, but were disqualified by the POC election committee for failure to meet the requirement on being active members of the general assembly.
The elections came a day after Pasig City Judge Elma Rafallo-Lingan denied a petition by Vargas for a Temporary Restraining Order that would have put the exercise, held at the end of every Olympic year, on hold.
Cojuangco was all smiles after gaining his fourth term in the elections that lasted an hour at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club. He said that now that the elections are over, it’s time for sports leaders to put their act together and help Philippine sports.
“That’s automatic,” said Cojuangco.
“I’ve been to a lot of elections in my life. When the game is over, the elections are over, the idea is to put everybody together again and go for the objective which is to be helpful to the community,” said the equestrian chief.
“I think the POC is supposed to do that. My role now is to put everybody together,” said Cojuangco.
He said this year’s elections were far different from that in 2008 when he defeated the late Arturo Macapagal of shooting in a tighly fought contest for the POC presidency, 21-19. He also ran unopposed in 2012 and got 32 votes.
“I ran against Art Macapagal but it was not as dirty as this. I didn’t like the ventilating of the issues with media. Obviously it didn’t help and it hurt the POC,” said Cojuangco, who reiterated his promise to deliver two gold medals for the country in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“As long as we give our athletes all the support that they need, I can guarantee that,” said Cojuangco.
In a statement handed over to the press by Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio, Vargas said regardless of the results of the elections, he remains hopeful that the court will find merit in his case that he is a qualified candidate.
“There is a pending case for hearing on Dec. 6 and 19. Among the matters to be discussed is the proper interpretation of the term ‘active member’ of the General Assembly, which, in turn will determine the propriety of the disqualification,” he said.
Aside from Cojuangco, earning fresh four-year terms were Jose Romasanta of volleyball as first vice-president, Col Jeff Tamayo of soft tennis as second vice president, Julian Camacho of wushu as treasurer, Jonne Go of canoe-kayak as auditor, and Cynthia Carrion of gymnastics, Clint Aranas of archery, Robert Mananquil of billiards and Rep. Prospero Pichay of chess as board members.
There was no candidate for chairman but Tom Carrasco of triathlon will hold on to the post until the general assembly decides on the matter. (A. Cordero, PS)