I WAS stunned by the news lately I heard that Philippine Olympic Committee Ricky Vargas resigned from his post to focus on his corporate responsibilities and to spend time with family.
The move comes after Vargas booted out the remnants of the Peping Cojuangco aligned members of the board.
That it is disappointing is a mild statement. Many sports fans were elated when the boxing chief finally unseated the overstaying Cojuangco from the POC after the former president first had him disqualified from running in the election. We all thought that it was going to be the beginning of a new age in Philippine sports and the old boys network would be dismantled.
We never got there. Heck, I don’t think Vargas even got the broom to clean up Philippine sports. Peping himself and his allies were kept in the POC board and Vargas decided to work with them, not unseat them, in a reconciliatory attempt to work for Philippine sports.
But since last year, when the country started preparing to host the Southeast Asian Games, the cracks in the POC--and the factionalism--began to show. The creation of the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee was questioned by some members of the board. In the previous hosting of the SEA Games, the POC took the lead in the hosting and of course in allocating who get what share of the government funding.
What does this mean for the future of Philippine sports?
I don’t know. I want to give the interim president, Joey Romasanta, the benefit of the doubt but he was Peping’s right hand man who played a key role in the ousting of national sports association officials who do not side with Peping. Rememeber, as the then Philippine Karatedo Federation head, he assumed the presidency of the newly created volleyball NSA that ousted the Philippine Volleyball Federation. Up until now the PVF is fighting for its rightful recognition and the one that replaced it has yet to establish its presence outside of Manila.
Of course, the immediate concern is our hosting of the SEAG and I hope Vargas’ resignation won’t derail it. Or did he sacrifice himself? So that those who have been after his scalp will have no more excuse but to focus on the SEA Games since he’s no longer in the POC?
This is one very costly hosting gig.