Art Macapagal weighs in on MVP’s waiting gameBy Percy D. Della
Philippine Daily Inquirer
SACRAMENTO, California—After the prelude, after the fanfare, tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan will drop the bomb sooner than later.
Will he run or won’t he run for president of the Philippine Olympic Committee?
Either way, his decision will be greeted with delight or near universal shock.
“So far very fluid,” a Pangilinan sports lieutenant told me yesterday with a caveat—his boss remains in a holding pattern—“still waiting for public pronouncements, for commitments from NSA honchos.”
The deadline for MVP to file his candidacy is Oct. 26. The POC elects its officers on Nov. 30.
Athletics president Go Teng Kok, a declared candidate, is willing to move over for a Pangilinan run.
Go leads the chorus: Eight years of decline and mediocrity in sports under re-electionist POC chief and presidential uncle Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr., is more than enough to bear.
If a head count by Go, a former Cojuangco insider, is plausible, 30 of his fellow NSA chiefs are poised to support Pangilinan and will only go public if the tycoon declares first.
It takes a simple majority of the 43 voting NSAs to seal victory for the basketball president and acknowledged as the country’s most valuable sports patron.
But MVP’s clandestine allies want to be assured that they won’t be left twisting in the wind, in case he begs off from running.
In short, they fear the wrath of Cojuangco after the voting he is expected to dominate without strong opposition.
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Meantime, Art Macapagal, brother of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the man Cojuangco defeated for the POC presidency by a whisker four years ago, has weighed in on the waiting game between MVP and his stealthy supporters.
Art, a former Olympian says he cannot explain why MVP is taking time to decide. “But I can understand why he is wary,” he said by e-mail.
The rest of his e-mail follows:
“When I offered to work for the progress of (the) POC and the athletes four years ago, I thought that following the values of the Olympic Movement in the campaign for the presidency would carry the day.
“I am an Olympian, with management skills, and a network of private-sector support which would be of benefit to the POC and the athletes. I did my best to reach out to all the NSA leaders, either personally or through persons who believed in me and had access to those who would rather not talk to me.
“I received personal commitments from 23 NSA leaders, enough to win. I did not promise anything in exchange—only good governance and implementation of our promised programs. Obviously, four reneged on their commitments.
“There are a sizable number of NSA leaders who sincerely want their respective sport and athletes to progress. Now is their time to take the initiative.
The problem of Philippine sports has gone beyond reforms in the NSA. The POC must rediscover and reform itself. Mr. Cojuangco had been given eight years to make his contribution to progress in Philippine sports. But we have not seen much progress.
“He will be doing Philippine sports a great service if he gives way to a younger and more dynamic leader. No doubt MVP can make changes necessary that will benefit Philippine sports and athletes. It will mean sacrifices on his part, especially in terms of time and resources.
“NSA leaders must make a decision to effect leadership changes and reforms now and encourage outstanding leaders like MVP to accept greater responsibilities, or be content with mediocrity.”
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