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Joey’s antijousting call jilted

/ 12:35 AM March 18, 2017

No, he is not tweeting at 5 a.m. about the feud escalating between the two most powerful personalities in Philippine sports.

But the public quarrel involving his boss, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose Cojuangco Jr., and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chair William Ramirez is enough for Joey Romasanta to vigorously wave the olive branch.

The POC first vice president is asking both men to stay away from the political muck and zoom in on a “common goal”—clearly for the good of Philippine athletes.

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In my book, Romasanta appears to be among the more level-headed sports bureaucrats around.

“It is normal for any group to disagree …,” Romasanta told Inquirer recently. “But at the end of the day they (Cojuangco and Ramirez) will still realize each other’s … responsibilities and work for a common goal.”

So did Romasanta’s antijousting spiel resonate at all?

Hardly.

On Wednesday, Ramirez took the extraordinary step of backing basketball legend Ramon Fernandez, one of his four PSC commissioners, should a legal skirmish with Cojuangco follow.

Fernandez is suing Cojuangco for libel for tagging him a “game fixer” while playing for the Toyota team during his pro career.

Cojuangco counterpunched quickly when the former cage star called the POC chief incompetent and corrupt for allegedly not liquidating P30 million to the government for an Olympics-funded Asian Games centennial event Manila in 2014.

“I am standing by my commissioner,” Ramirez told Inquirer scribe June Navarro in Cebu.

Cojuangco, whose election for a record fourth term as local Olympics honcho has been assailed by many, including this corner, says he will face Fernandez in court anytime.

Besides, he reiterated earlier that Ramirez should stop meddling in the privately-run POC—the wizard behind the curtain for the national sports associations (NSAs).

He said the PSC should focus on grassroots development, fund national athletes, but not train them.

Miffed, Ramirez said that NSAs under the POC should stop asking for financial support if they don’t want to be supervised. Ramirez told me he needs to track the trail of the people’s money.

He even got down to the nitty gritty, scoring the POC and most NSAs for using government offices that include “the air-conditioner, lights, water, and janitorial and security [services] for free.”

“I am duty bound to involve, interfere and supervise. That’s very clear in the PSC law, RA 6847,” Ramirez stressed.

But then the display of rancor between him and Cojuangco has become the latest piece of local sports culture that draws the people’s attention and ire.

TAGS: Jose Cojuangco Jr, Philippine Olympic Committee, William Ramirez
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