Cojuangco candidacy: No comeback for PH sportsBy Percy D. Della
Philippine Daily Inquirer
SACRAMENTO, California—Presidential Uncle Jose “Peping” Cojuangco’s eight years as president of the Philippine Olympic Committee have all the earmarks of a monumental fiasco.
Our athletes again scored a big, fat zero in the two most recent Olympics—a sad and predictable reality considering the level of competition at the Games.
After placing 18th among 38 countries in the 2006 Asian Games, we dropped to 19th among 36 nations in 2010.
But what a feisty commentator calls the “unmitigated disaster” of Cojuangco’s two terms in office is our pathetic finish in the last two Southeast Asian Games, a bush league if ever there is one.
We landed fifth in that biennial picnic in Laos in 2009 and retrogressed to sixth in Indonesia last year—a mirror of the times that reflects how far we have slid down the ladder of sports in the Asian region.
The 78-year-old Cojuangco, instead of heeding the call for change, is doing it one more time.
A former Tarlac solon and a brother of the late democratic icon Corazon Aquino—the President’s mom—Cojuangco is at it again, defying anyone who might wonder if he’s too old but so politically connected for the job.
Cojuangco is running for a third term and is unopposed so far. This is definitely not a comeback story for our athletes whose development is the fundamental job of the POC in pursuit of Olympism on a national level.
These young men and women are yearning and itching to excel on the world stage but are mired in the personal and dirty political machinations of the old boys’ network that controls their national sports associations.
So to spark a changing of the guard in the POC and many of the NSAs that, among other things, can’t liquidate and account for money supposedly spent for athletes and equipment, why is no one venturing to run against Cojuangco this November?
I am pretty sure some activists out there, including a former senator and a current one who is a reformer on paper, are raring to get off their high horses and down to ground level and prove they are sensitive to the worries of the Filipino athlete.
Unfortunately, these personalities screaming their lungs out for reform do not belong or lack the official tenure in an NSA. To campaign for the POCs top banana, you must have served four years previously as head of a national association for an Olympic sport.
So what about that maverick NSA head whose middle name is controversy? What about some of the rare, forward-looking NSA chiefs who may have a clear vision to improve Philippine sports?
Are they biding their time? Are they walking a fine line, without looking like political vultures ready to pounce?
Good luck, says a fellow Inquirer columnist. “That chatterbox of an NSA head is just that—all he does is complain and cry.”
And what about the people who can pass the smell test but are refusing to budge?
“Peping has mastered the Mafiosi style of perpetuating himself in the POC,” says my colleague. “If at all, the reformers within have chosen to keep quiet. They must have thought running isn’t worth a try.”
In other words, it’s a complete cop-out by those who could make a difference and could mount a credible challenge to Cojuangco but have chosen not to.
More from this Column:
- Sportsmen in politics
- NSAs catch election fever
- ‘My bottom dollar for a horse’
- PH a world golf stop amid leadership turmoil
- Go, Popoy Juico and the Patafa presidency