MANILA, Philippines - The election committee of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) decided on Monday, November 5, not to disqualify Go Teng Kok from running for president of the POC against incumbent Jose "Peping" Cojuangco Jr.
But in order to run, Go must first submit a copy of the Supreme Court decision backing his candidacy to the committee.
Election committe member Ricky Palou of Ateneo de Manila said their decision to wait for the document before declaring him eligible was based on the rules.
"We are waiting for the document of the Supreme Court that approved in his favor [that he is no longer] persona non grata," Palou told Rappler over the phone. "The Supreme Court has ruled in his favor but we don't have an official copy."
Athletics chief Go filed his candidacy for President on Friday, October 26, just hours before the deadline, in a move to challenge his archival Cojuangco who is seeking for his third four-year term.
Palou said Go has until November 29, a day before election day, a holiday, to furnish the committee with a signed copy of the ruling.
Court backs Go
The election committee, headed by former congressman Victorico Chaves and composed of La Salle's Bro. Bernard Oca and Palou, met for about an hour and a half to discuss candidates in question, after the committee received complaints regarding some hopefuls.
According to Palou, only Go's candidacy is conditional. All other who filed their certificates of candidacies have been approved.
Go's candidacy was under deliberation after he was declared persona non grata by the POC Board and expelled by the POC General Assembly for suing top POC officials including Cojuangco over the Philippine Karatedo Federation (PKF) leadership.
Go, who used to serve as president of the PKF, sued Cojuangco for electing a new PKF president and allegedly ousting him.
Since the decision to expel Go however, Go has successfully obtained a temporary restraining order on his expulsion from the Pasig Regional Trial Court, which declared that Go was not given due process before he was expelled.
The POC then filed a petition with the Supreme Court to challenge the RTC's decision, but the petition has since been dismissed by the High Court.
Go said that with the backing of the Supreme Court nullifying his declaration as persona non grata, he should be eligible to run for POC president.
Once declared eligible by the committee, Go will be the lone challenger of Cojuangco. Businessman and sports advocate Manny V. Pangilinan had earlier considered running for the post due to public clamor for change, but Pangilinan ultimately decided not to run.
In a Philippine Daily Inquirer report, Go said he was initially running to challenge Cojuangco, but was overwhelmed by the support he received for filing his candidacy.
"I can’t believe it. I did not expect to be flooded by so many phone calls from so many people who expressed their support for me. I didn’t know I had so many allies. They were so many that if I translated all these calls into actual votes, I would win by a landslide," the report quoted him as saying.
The block challenging Cojuangco's slate led by Manny Lopez, POC's current first vice-president, is not fielding a candidate for the POC presidency but said they hope to fill top POC position with reform-minded individuals to influence the path of the POC. - Rappler.com