I like Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino’s speech following his Sunday’s victory as president of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
“Now that this squabble is over, let’s set aside our differences and move forward,” said Tolentino after defeating athletics’ Popoy Juico. “Let’s be united and focus on the SEA Games, next year’s PARA Games hosting and our participation in the 2020 Olympics.”
That was also Ricky Vargas’s spin when Vargas won as POC president a while back: Unity. As proof to that, Vargas made Peping Cojuangco, the man he deposed, a major player in his mandate.
But as history would tell us now, Vargas failed to achieve his vision of unity and, in disgust, he resigned.
But his official reason was family and pressure of work outside of the Olympic movement, which includes corporate leadership as he is also known as a key cog in the massive MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan) conglomerate.
Indeed, Vargas learned a bit too late that you can’t serve two masters at the same time—especially if the other environment is peopled by mostly unfriendly forces.
But Tolentino could be of a different breed. As a seasoned politician (he is presently a representative from Cavite and president of Philcycling), his POC approach might be compromise-based. Isn’t politics the art of compromise?
In his first move alone, Tolentino firmed up the reappointment of boxing’s Pato Gregorio as POC secretary-general. Just right. Gregorio’s record is unsullied.
By naming fencing’s and Ormoc mayor Richard Gomez as Gregorio’s deputy, we have a power-packed 1-2 punch by Tolentino’s side, virtually ensuring a seamless leadership in the run-up to the Manila SEA Games set in November to December.
Joining Bambol in the executive board are handball’s Steve Hontiveros as chair (he beat Robert Aventajado), with archery’s Clint Aranas and gymnastics’ Cynthia Carrion as board members
“I’m here to serve and not to be served,” said Bambol, who brought his family to mass hours before he got elected.
You are on the right track, Sir. Stay the course. Please.