With future of PH sports at stake, NSA’s elect new POC officials
With both predicting clear triumphs for themselves, incumbent Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino of cycling and challenger Atty. Jesus Clint Aranas of archery will leave their fate to the wisdom of the electorate when they dispute the presidency of the powerful sports body Friday in polls that would hopefully be orderly at East Ocean Palace in Parañaque.
Representatives from 51 national sports associations will cast their votes along with athletes commission officials Hidilyn Diaz and Jessie Lacuna and International Olympic Committee executive board member Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski in deciding one of the most controversy-laden POC elections in the history of the organization.
“If (winning) is my destiny, my first move is to reach out to all NSAs and unite sports. Let’s forget the politics, let’s move forward and focus especially in the Olympics where we are aiming for the country’s first gold medal,’’ said Tolentino.
As the POC’s top official, he was credited for showing the way that led Team Philippines to the overall title in last year’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games. Tolentino took over from the resigned Ricky Vargas in July last year and is confident he can earn a full term that would end in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Tolentino has triathlon’s Tom Carrasco (chairman), basketball’s Al Panlilio (1st VP), fencing’s Richard Gomez (2nd VP), Cynthia Carrion-Norton of gymnastics (treasurer) and baseball’s Chito Loyzaga (auditor) as his running mates.
“I think the best guy will win. The competent person will win and I’m sure about it,’’ said Aranas, who claims having the support of at least 30 NSAs in his bid to upstage Tolentino.
The magic number in winning is pegged at 28 votes, with Atty. Teodoro Kalaw IVacting as elecom chair.
Steve Hontiveros, the incumbent chair, is running for reelection under Aranas, whose team is made up of athletics chief Philip Ella Juico (1st vice president), Ada Milby of rugby (2nd VP), Julian Camacho of wushu (treasurer) and weightlifting’s Monico Puentevella (auditor).
Meanwhile, despite its suspension from the International Tennis Federation, the Philippine Tennis Association will be allowed to vote as decided by the POC General Assembly in a virtual gathering on Thursday.
The POC GA has also tasked top badminton officials to decide among themselves on who will cast the vote for the Philippine Badminton Association after conflict arose when badminton chief and former Vice President Jejomar Binay said he would show up at the polls to represent the PBA.
Albee Benitez is listed as the current president of the PBA based on the association’s Securities and Exchange Commission registration while Binay was relegated as vice president.
Hontiveros, however, noted the absence of a POC observer during the election of Benitez as president and the absence of communication to the POC executive board of the election result for the ratification of the general assembly.
Strict health protocols have been set up by the POC election committee, with those who will cast their
votes in person required to go through coronavirus (COVID-19) testing as well as officials, POC staff and members of the media.
Diaz, who is currently training in Malaysia, cast her vote through mail-in voting together with representatives from canoe-kayak, football and skating.
The entire undertaking up to the counting of votes and proclamation of winners can be witnessed through Facebook live beginning at 1:30 p.m.
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