I HATE to say this -- he’s going to hate me for saying it -- but I have to tell you Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco should resign.
To borrow the words of an American senator, “cut and cut cleanly. The time has come.”
Why do I say this?
Well, let me count the ways.
First, Cojuangco is now 82.
Second, Cojuangco has already served three terms -- or 12 long years, to be exact -- as head of the country’s highest governing body in sports.
And third, Cojuangco’s tenure brought more losses than triumphs, more jeers than cheers and more sad than happy faces in our sporting world.
His record in three Olympics: one silver medal by weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz in 2016 Rio.
To resign or not resign?
But the former Tarlac lawmaker did not only reject calls for his resignation, he also eliminated the biggest threat to his extended reign.
Cojuangco eliminated ABAP chief Ricky Vargas from running as president of POC by technicality.
But pray tell me, instead of seeking an unprecedented fourth straight term, Cojuangco can simply follow the lead of other top sports leaders around the world who resigned to save their sports.
In 2013, FILA president Raphael Martinelli of Switzerland resigned after a vote of no confidence following IOC’s initial recommendation to drop wrestling as a core sport in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The following year -- 2014 -- FIFA ethics committee chairman Michael Garcia quit after questioning the entire integrity, leadership and culture of the football body.
In 2015, Japan Sports Minister Hakubun Shimimura also tendered his resignation over cancelled plans for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Stadium.
And early this year, Shane Sutton resigned as technical director of British Cycling in the wake of discrimination allegations.
With less than a month before the Nov. 25 POC elections, the sports world is awash with #ResignPeping and #ChangeTheGame stories.
Former POC president Cristy Ramos -- It is a tragedy when so-called “sports leaders” refuse to uphold the spirit of fair play and abide by the rules. Still the same tactics. When I was ousted illegally as POC president in 1999, the POC changed its charter to exclude NSAs representing non-Olympic sports from running for the presidency. At that time I represented the Philippine Karatedo Federation. So much for the Olympic spirit which these people are supposed to uphold.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) commissioner Ramon Fernandez -- He acts like it’s Peping’s Olympic Committe (POC). He shoudl let the opposition (Vargas) run if he really thinks he has the suport of themajority of the NSAs.
Former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) commissioner Chito Salud -- I have never imagined sports to be embroiled in so much politics. Our athletes are sacrificing everything for the country. How can they achieve their goals if they disqualified Vargas, who presents himself as a leader with a vision?”
Manila Bulletin sports editor Ding Marcelo -- Given a chance to redeem himself by submitting his record to independent judgment by his peers through a secret-ballot election, the 82-year-old Cojuangco instead embraced a questionable, controversial, and unpopular decision by the POC electoral commission: To disqualify the only other would-be candidate for president, Ricky Vargas.
Sun Star Cebu columnist Mike Limpag -- They (POC) disqualified Vargas, the president of the NSA for boxing that has produced so many SEA Games and Asian Games medals in favor of the NSA president of equestrian, whose last Olympian was Tony Leviste in 2000. With sports officials clamoring for change after the disqualification, they began bragging that the POC officials still enjoy the support of the majority of the NSAs, a statement that won’t be tested in an election where there are no opponents.
Cebu-based sporstwriter Gabby Malagar -- Let’s wait and see. POC now stands for Peping’s Ouster Coming.
Billiards patron Perry Mariano -- Tanggalin nyo lahat mga y’an if you want Philippine sports to survive. Get young men to run sports. ‘Yung may pera at mahilig. Hindi mga laos na sportsmen at laos at natalong politicians.That’s why nothing is happening to sports.
NOTES -- Belated birthday greetings to my Fil-Am pamangkin, Allen Joshua D. Andaya of Orange County, CA , who turned 19 last Oct. 31...
Best wishes also to Kim de la Cruz of Nueva Ecija, who celebrated last Oct.28.