MVP won’t run for POC president

Businessman Manny V. Pangilinan has decided not to run for the Philippine Olympic Committee presidency, saying it is not the right time

Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan. Photo by AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Businessman and sports advocate Manny V. Pangilinan ended speculations on Wednesday, October 24, when he decided he would not run for the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) presidency.

The decision comes after meetings with sports leaders and his advisers, but Pangilinan ultimately believed the timing was off.

In a statement, Pangilinan announced his decision with a “heavy heart.”

“After long reflection and considerable thought, and taking into account the many complex and challenging factors in the assessment, especially the demands on my time which such a position entails, with a heavy heart, I have concluded that now is not the right time for me to join the POC in an executive capacity,” he said.

Pangilinan also apologized to his supporters but pledged he would continue to back Philippine sports.

“I know I will disappoint many of you with this decision, and for this I am really sorry,” he said. “I must say however that I’m not turning my back at all on Philippine sports, that I remain committed to supporting it.”

He added his thanks to those who had urged him to run and expressed their support.

The wealthy Pangilinan was considering challenging current POC President Jose “Peping” Cojuangco who is seeking his third 4-year term as head of the sporting body. 

Cojuangco has been under fire for the declining performance of Filipino athletes in international competitions during his tenure — including the dismal showing of the Philippine delegation in the 2012 London Olympics.

Difficult decision

Talks of Pangilinan running in the November 30 elections were reportedly ignited by the clamor for improvement from National Sports Associations (NSAs) that will be casting their votes for the POC leadership.

The deadline for filing of candidacy is on Friday, October 26.

Chot Reyes, the head coach of the men’s national basketball team and who was part of the team helping Pangilinan deliberate on the POC presidency, told Rappler that it was a hard decision for Pangilinan to make.

“We agonized until 2 this morning before reaching a final decision,” he said in a text message. “That’s how hard it was for him to turn it down.”

So far, Cojuangco’s only challenger is his former supporter-turned-rival, athletics head Go Teng Kok. Go has said he is willing to give up his candidacy if Pangilinan or anyone else decides to run against Cojuangco.

Pangilinan, the country’s most influential businessman, is the president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and chairman of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines. He also funds sports he believes has the best chance of producing Olympians — including badminton, taekwondo, tennis, football, golf and cycling, among others — through his MVP Sports Foundation.- Rappler.com

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