Who will dare oppose Peping in POC polls?By Manolo R. Iñigo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. the 78-year-old president of the Philippine Olympic Committee, is a formidable candidate in the coming POC elections on Nov. 30 because he enjoys much clout and influence in both the private and government sectors.
A former congressman from Tarlac, he is also an uncle of President Aquino. He is reportedly supported by the majority of NSA (national sports association) members who believe Mr. Cojuangco is the only one who can unite the fragmented Olympic body.
While it is true that Cojuango’s eight-year term has been marked by a string of stunning reversals, including a medal shutout in the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics, what have these so-called critics done so far to contribute and help sports?
Go Teng Kok, the athletics president and outspoken leader of a group bitterly opposing the current POC boss, is challenging Cojuangco in the next elections.
But although Go counts on the support of a handful of NSA supporters, he admits he is “no match” against Cojuangco. Go is also throwing his support behind business tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan.
“I hope Mr. Pangilinan (MVP) goes for it,” Go said. “There is a loud clamor for him to run.”
Go also ran for the POC presidency in 2000 but lost to Celso Dayrit. He backed Cojuangco in 2004 (Cojuangco ran and won unopposed) and also in 2008 before he had a falling out with the POC head.
It seems that Cojuangco’s only drawback is the fact that he is a politician.
But a POC diehard asks: What’s wrong with being a politician? Not all politicians are bad. There are some politicians who sincerely care for the cause of sports and the athletes in particular. Like it or not, sports development is the primary responsibility of the government and being close to the President will help his cause.
While it is true that the private sector plays an important role in sports development, without government support there is no salvation for sports, the POC man added.
The Constitution itself declares that it is the policy of the State to “protect and promote the right to health of the people and to instill health consciousness among them.”
In the coming POC elections, what the country needs are dedicated and well-connected leaders who can help resuscitate sports. The POC badly needs leadership with direction.
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