MANILA, Philippines – A group led by Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) first vice president Manny Lopez is set to challenge the ticket of incumbent POC President Jose “Peping” Cojuangco in the upcoming committee elections set for November 30.
Cojuangco is seeking for his third four-year term as President, and is expected to run against athletics head and longtime rival Go Teng Kok.
Go is not with Lopez’s group but Lopez, along with several others, are eyeing other POC positions.
A report from Interaksyon.com said Lopez and his group filed their candidacy on Thursday, October 25, at the POC office, PhilSports complex in Pasig. The deadline for interested candidates is on Friday, October 26.
The strategy, according to Lopez, is to fill the POC with like-minded leaders who are looking for change.
“We may not have a candidate for the president post but we have come up with a lineup that can push reforms for Philippine sport. We can sill create change and assert ourselves by sheer numbers,” Lopez was quoted as saying in the report.
The wealthy sports advocate had thought of challenging Cojuangco due to clamor for improvement from National Sports Associations (NSAs), that will be casting their votes for the POC leadership.
The 78-year-old 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.
Among Pangilinan’s biggest supporters who is pushing for the Lopez-led ticket is Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) president Ricky Vargas who remains optimistic about change and improvement in Philippine sports.
“I am a supporter for change and good governance, less politics but unity and a leadership of accountability, integrity and not patronage or building dynasties,” said Vargas in a text message to Rappler.
He said he supports the group that will bring about these values and change to the POC.
Vargas, who has been recognized as heading the most successful NSA, added that he believes the sporting community is looking for something new.
“There is clearly a clamor for fresh ideas and a leadership of performance,” he said. “I hope and pray old or new, those who offer themselves to serve, sincerely work for sports [and] not themselves.”
Vargas did not mention any names but instead said “past performance speaks for itself,” before expressing hope for change.
Lopez is aiming to remain first vice president, and will challenge Joey Romansanta of karate, who is under Cojuangco’s slate.
Those running with Lopez include Monico Puentevella of weightlifting who is seeking the POC chairmanship, Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino of cycling for 2nd vice president and Romeo Ribano of squash for treasurer. Four others are vying for executive board positions. – Rappler.com