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A long way for PH sports to change

  • Written by Lito Cinco
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 275

BELIEVE me, we still have a long way to go before  we see the change we would like to have in Philippine
sports.

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
to me.
    
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.