BELIEVE me, we still have a long way to go before we see the change we would like to have in Philippine
And personally, my wish to have a change in the leadership of the Philippine Olympic Committee
(POC), meaning for current president Peping Cojuangco to be changed, no, I do not think it will
happen later than sooner, I was at the rally organized by Boy Cantada and other well-meaning sports
personalities at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum last week and sad to say the number of people expected to
come out for this event did not materialize.
Yes there were some personalities like former Senator Nikki Coseteng who heads the Philippine
Swimming League (PSL) together with Susan Papa, a former national swimmer and now running the PSL,
former Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Perry Mequi, current Philippine Football Federation
(PFF) treasurer Johnny Romualdez, and officers from “other disenfranchised National Sports Associations
in bowling and dragon boat.
Aside from Romualdez, and it was not clear to me if he was representing the view of his NSA
or he was there on a personal capacity as he only talked about his extensive involvement in sports,
there were no major NSA’s represented, gymnastics was supposedly represented by a couple but again
whether that was a sign that Cynthia Carreon has indeed broken off from Cojuangco was also not clear
I am sure that Cojuangco sent his own eyes and ears to the event and he would have been
happy to take note that the number of people is small and that there were no major personalities as I
mentioned, I was discussing the matter with other colleagues who were there to cover the event, though
I could sense that the sympathies really lie with the organizers, and one of them likened the meeting
to one where the generals sent only their junior officers.
Of course the organizers were also right to say that no revolution started with a mass number
right away but with a small group that eventually grew, and that remains to be the hope of the group,
Papa though had a different take on the current situation and cited Republic Act 6847 which covers
the powers and authority of the PSC over Philippine sports, she believes that the wording are clear
enough for the PSC to have the authority over the POC, including suspending an NSA.
I told her that when it comes to laws, the general statements, or even the more specific ones
are subjected to different legal interpretations, talk to diffeent lawyers and probabilities are, you
will get differing opinions too, in the case of labor laws, there are implementing rules and regulations
that spell out more clearly the meaning behind the general statement.
I am not a lawyer but I believe that the PSC’s authority over the different NSA’s is clear
only when it comes to funding, meaning the PSC since it is spending public funds have the right to
withhold future support to NSA’s that have unliquidated funds, this is one area where PSC
Commissioner Mon Fernandez has been hitting the POC as it is a fact that there are amounts that have
yet to be liquidated like the SEA Games held here in 2005, and 12 years later, there remains a lot of
questions on how the money was spent.
Same with the liquidation received by the PSC regarding a welcoming party for Cojuangco’s
daughter Mikee Jaworski when she was appointed IOC representative to the Philippines, and yes, I agree
more with Mon on his observation that there is reason to question that POC expense.
If you are active in social media and an FB friend of Mon, you will read a lot of opinions by
those whose intentions for Philippine sports is without doubt good but then when they start talking of
the POC being abolished , put under the PSC, or President Duterte appointing a new POC president, it
becomes clear that they are not familiar with certain legalities that cover the IOC’s relationship,
position, and authority, and one thing I would not want to see is the Philippines being suspended for
clear government interference.
And talking about Mikee, the truth is she is the only one who will be recognized by the IOC
when it comes to the sports situation here and Mequi is appealing to her patriotism in this case and
report to the IOC the supposedly abuses here, but then I will be the first to express doubts that this
wish will ever come true, Mikee is Cojuangco’s daughter, period.
On the part of Nikki, I sympathize with what has happened to swimmers affiliated with the
PSL, this is one clear area where athletes are the ones suffering because of politics in sports, right
now we have two swimming groups but only the Philippine Swimming Inc (PSI), still headed officially by
at large president Mark Joseph, it is the same situation in bowling, and dragon boat, and the obvious
responsibility of the POC leadership is to unite warring groups instead of forming a new one headed by
people that are easily recognized as close to the current POC leadership as in the case of Steve
Hontiveros and Joey Romasanta.
I also felt and mentioned it to Nikki afterwards that her disagreement with Graham Lim over
FESSAP matters should not have been ventilated that long during the rally, yes to compare what
happened in FESSAP supposedly can be compared to the POC leadership concern but I felt it was
overdone by Nikki a little.
But the problem is who will budge between the two warring groups, I asked this of Cantada and
he said his Philippine Volleyball Federation (PVF) is willing to merge with the Larong Volleyball ng
Pilipinas Inc (LVPI) but that it is his group that should be recognized.
Again the problem for me lies with the POC leadership and the way remains to be the legal way,
that is, the NSA’s doing what they did to Cristy Ramos before when she was ousted as POC president by
the General Assembly, I believe that was also the position taken by Ricky Vargas, that is, that things
whatever they may be, should e done in a legal way.
And even as I wished Papa good luck on her endeavor to convince the PSC that it has indeed
real power beyond funding on the NSA’s, sorry but I just do not see it happening now and that is why I
see a long battle ahead if Cojuangco, the master political strategist that he is, is to be replaced as
he will not resign, period.
If he proves me wrong, I will go to church and offer my thanks.