AS I said, Alan Peter Cayetano was a smashing success as chairman of Phisgoc (Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee).
He actually inherited a headache job, after Brunei, the original host of the 30th SEA Games this year, had backed out.
That is why when Cayetano pointed out in his closing ceremonies speech at New Clark City that he took on the challenge of overseeing the Games despite limited time, give it to him.
He was just telling the truth.
“We only had 18 months to prepare,” he said. “Our detractors kept saying we couldn’t set up our venues on time.”
Despite the brickbats and, sometimes, downright below-the-belt innuendoes, Cayetano passed the test with flying colors.
And when everybody thought he’d give his critics a dressing down while wrapped in ecstatic joy, he said to them: “Peace be with you.”
Easily the quote of the year.
But it’s also time to raise our glasses to another guy for likewise accomplishing a job so brilliantly that only an idiot now would question the dude’s appointment as chef de mission of the Philippine Team to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Look, before being officially appointed to pilot the program to make us overall champion in the just-concluded Games, chef de mission William “Butch” Ramirez had the unassailable track record of also steering the country to the overall championship in the 2005 SEA Games.
Thus, taking on the chef de mission job a second time was but peanuts for Butch, who, as the current PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) chairman, is widely acknowledged as the best ever to hold that post.
Humility is second nature to him as can be gleaned from his post-SEAG discourse: “Regardless whether I am chef de mission or not, my mandate as PSC chairman is to make sure that our athletes are well taken care of, from their nutrition to billeting to the most important ingredient of all—training, preparation and foreign exposure.”
In short, that was how the Games was won. Or how Butch won it for us.
The Olympic gold is now within reach—seemingly?