Limpag: Ricky Vargas cracks the whip

Fair Play

THE Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) is in turmoil anew and it isn’t surprising that the camp of Peping Cojuangco Jr. is involved.

The former four-term POC president, who was defeated by Ricky Vargas in 2016, was retained by the POC board after his loss and apparently he has tested Vargas’ patience for the last time. After asking Vargas to explain in writing the “incorporation of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee,” the POC president sacked Cojuangco, Joey Romasanta, Monsour del Rosario and Robert Bachmann from the board.

Good riddance, I should say for Romasanta and Cojuangco. The ill effect of their power play in the Philippine politics is still being felt today, especially in volleyball. Cojuangco had the then Philippine Volleyball Federation replaced with one allied with him and put Romasanta in power. Romasanta, who was also the Philippine Karatedo Federation head, essentially controlled two NSAs.

That’s just in volleyball. Peping also dipped into the NSAs for bowling, dragon boat and table tennis.

Why? For the good of the sport? I don’t think so. One thing that really made me shake my head was in the letter to FIVB, Peping included PVF’s failure to send a team to the Southeast Asian Games as one of the reasons for its dismal performance as an NSA. He did not include that it was Peping himself who barred volleyball from joining.

Anyway, Peping is gone and Vargas has called for a POC election in January 2020, which is 10 months earlier than scheduled. The POC election is usually held in the November of an Olympic year but I guess Vargas wants to see if the rest of the NSAs are with him or with Peping.

Of course, the other faction will say that this will have an effect on our country’s performance in the Southeast Asian Games but I think not. Unless those who were sacked will willfully jeopardize our hosting. As for the preparation of the athletes, the various NSAs are taking care of that. Peping and Romasanta are not the ones handling the training of the athletes. And if I say so, we have performed poorly in previous Southeast Asian Games when they were the ones in charge of Philippine sports. Their absence might even lead to something positive.

I hope after the POC elections in January, the POC will seriously consider amending its bylaws to prevent another Peping Cojuangco and Joey Romasanta. Peping stayed for four terms and I think that is just too much.

There should be a term limit. Romasanta became the head of two NSAs and I think that shouldn’t be allowed. If staying for 16 years or heading two NSAs isn’t greed for power I don’t know what is. I think it’s time Philippine sports be rid of men like them.

Yes, the POC may be in turmoil because of this but I see this as a first step of cleansing Philippine sports. And it came almost three years too late. I expected us to be rid of Peping et. al when Vargas took over but the new POC prexy took a reconciliatory approach and included the old faction in his board.

Now, that time is over.


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