Limpag: It’s time for change, replace Peping in POC

PEPING Cojuangco is almost 82 years old and if his plans push through, he will be running unopposed for a fourth term as president of the Philippine Olympic Committee.

Unopposed. For a fourth straight term.

What’s wrong with the picture?

To be perfectly blunt, nothing. It is within his right as a private citizen to run for office in a private, non-governmental group.

But let’s be blunt, too. Is Philippine sports so deprived of a leader that we can have no other choice than a fourth-term octogenarian who, when it is convenient for him, interferes in government affairs but hides under the cloak of non-government interference?

There are no other takers for the POC post? No one else is qualified from the 30 national sports associations under the Philippine Olympic body? Change is the theme of the game, and while the Philippine Sports Commission changed its composition, the only candidate we have for the POC presidency is still Peping?

The criteria for running for president of POC is that a candidate must be a president of an NSA for four years and his or her NSA must be an active member of the Olympic body. For the life of me, I’ve forgotten what NSA Cojuangco heads. Was it equestrian?

Do we need change at the POC? Yeah, we do. One medal in four Olympiads shows we need to have a change of leadership, a change of perspective and ideas on how Philippine sports is run.

In 2012, when Peping won his third term unopposed, he was quoted saying he would use his LAST term to win an Olympic gold medal and develop nutrition and strength programs for Filipino athletes. He certainly didn’t achieve any of those and his third term certainly wasn’t his last term.

It’s disappointing that there are no other takers. No other candidates for the POC presidency election, an expensive exercise since I was told that people don’t bother to hide the payment for votes, which went for P20,000 the last time.

Do we need a change? We certainly do. We need a POC president that will put Philippine sports in order. Take a look at the infighting that is wrecking some of the NSAs; or even take a look at chess, whose president Prospero Pichay hasn’t called an election in years. Pichay, of course, is a Cojuangco supporter.

Who could be the perfect challenger?

Who would dare run against Peping? If you know of any NSA president who has been in office for four years, well, let’s try to convince him, shall we?

Oh wait, hasn’t Philippine Football Federation president Mariano Araneta been an officer since 2011? And isn’t it under his term that Philippine football has thrived? And what’s best, he is a stickler for transparency, a concept that is alien in Philippine sports.

Should he throw his money in to the hat?

I’ve met Nonong only a few times, but I’ve heard of him a lot; the first was in 2008, during the election for the PFF president when he decided not to run. The consensus then was that it was too bad that the best man for the job isn’t a contender.

Well, three years later, he got thrust in the limelight.

Here’s hoping a series of accidents (figuratively, of course) will thrust him in the limelight for the POC race.

For the anybody-but-Peping movement, Nonong actually is the perfect choice.

(mikelimpag@gmail.com)

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