In Huddle

Can Peping get rid of Go?

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Don’t be surprised if athletics president Go Teng Kok suddenly changes tack and decides not to step down from his post.

I had presumed that it was Go who had handpicked Philip Ella Juico to replace him, but it turned out that I was wrong.

Perhaps I got the notion because Go had texted me several weeks ago asking if I could recommend a good, able and honest man who could take over the Philippine Amateur Athletics Association (Patafa), which he has headed for the last 20 years.

In retrospect, I now understand why Juico was hesitant to talk about his projected assumption of the Patafa post when I bumped into him at Shangri-la Restaurant on Times Street in Quezon City on Chinese New Year’s day.

It was not Go who had endorsed Juico to be his successor but the athletics chief’s No. 1 foe, Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco. The Juicos are very close to the Cojuangco-Aquino clan.

* * *

Actually, a colleague who was also at Shangri-la that night was the one eager to get a definite answer from Juico. In the end, Juico admitted that he was taking over the Patafa but that the formal announcement of his assumption would not be made until late March.

Juico explained that the leadership transition was taking time because they wanted it to be orderly.

Funny I didn’t even stop to wonder why the transfer of power had to be very orderly, when Go was giving way voluntarily.

Or so I thought.

* * *

The other day I texted Go for an update on the turnover.

I was surprised to learn that Go had never endorsed Juico for the Patafa presidency.

It was a bit difficult to decipher Go’s text reply, but from what I could make of it, he was saying that it would be stupid of him to recommend Juico.

The man, Go said, never helped him clear his name after Cojuangco’s clique had declared him persona non grata at the POC without due process.

Go claimed that he helped Juico get the vice presidency of the national cycling association.

Go also insinuated that he was instrumental in Juico’s appointment as a cabinet secretary during the Cory Aquino administration and as chair of the Philippine Sports Commission.

Recalling all these, Go is now mulling if he should really call it quits, especially now that some of his allies are advising him to stay put.

Let’s see how Cojuangco can get rid of Go and install Juico in his place.

* * *

Yesterday, a colleague called to confirm that Juico is Cojuangco’s anointed.

“Patafa needs results… and money, and Peping believes Juico can deliver both,” said my colleague. “After all, Juico’s wife (Margie) is the boss of the PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office) which could provide the budget for the NSA’s needs.”

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