CEBU'S tennis luminary and sports columnist John Pages expressed his disgust over the controversial election of Salvador “Buddy” Andrada as head of Philippine Lawn Tennis Association (Philta) for the next two years, last Wednesday at Philta office in Rizal Memorial Complex.
Pages, a former regional director of Philta, expressed his frustrations because he felt, Andrada’s election is bad for tennis.
“When I was a junior player in 1988, Buddy Andrada was president. Now, 29 years later and with my daughter Jana competing nationally, he is still the president. Too much. Why do people want to cling to power forever? This is bad for the sports,” Pages said.
Pages also added that the believes tennis patron Jean-Henri Lhuillier could have been the best replacement for Andrada.
“We cannot find a more selfless and tennis loving person than Jean-Henri,” Pages said.
In 2010, Andrada stepped down from the presidency after he was appointed Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) commissioner.
However, when the new PSC team led by Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, Andrada then won the election last July after Edwin Olivares relinquished the post.
Last December, Andrada expressed his desire to step down from office, which then led to the snap election last Wednesday.
However, to the dismay of the members of the board of trustees led by chairman Jean-Henri Lhuillier, who was primed to lead tennis association, Andrada instead offered him the vice presidency post. He assured him to get the top post in a maximum of two years.
This led Lhuillier’s walkout along with Randy Villanueva, former Philta president Julito Villanueva and Virgilio Maronilla.
“When former president Edwin Olivares relinquished the Philta presidency as a requisite of taking public office, the proper line of succession should have installed the then vice president Randy Villanueva. Instead, a snap election was conducted contrary to association rules.
This snap election was held without observing the prescribed duration of time and prior notice.
"These circumstances were actually violations of Philta by-laws and renders Col. Andrada’s Philta presidency invalid and illegitimate. It is precisely for these reasons that the new election for Philta President was slated—through the mediation of the POC & ITF. The POC has in fact been notified that the elections are to be held for the Philta presidency,” Lhuillier said in his statement posted at Philta website.
Despite what happened, Lhuillier said he promises to continue his support to the association especially his sponsorship of the Philippine Team, competing in the Davis Cup.
“Because of the foregoing, we have decided not to participate in the Philta elections, which actually covers only the vice Presidential post and lower positions. My group is keeping our options open and we’ll take it day by day but for sure, I will continue to support tennis in the Philippines as it is my passion,” Lhuillier added.
Pages said that they are awaiting further movement in Manila as the Cebuano coaches and players are just as anxious as he is for the next event to happen.