RICARDO “Richie” Garcia is the new chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission.

POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco confirmed late yesterday he already had the appointment of Garcia approved by President Benigno Aquino III.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Cojuangco, younger bro-ther of the late former president Corazon Aquino, said those recommended by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), which include former tennis head Buddy Andrada, little league baseball’s  Jolly Gomez and former basketball star Joey Loyzaga, are among those also named as new commissioners of the government sports body.

Holdover

Former swimmer Akiko Thomson-Guevarra is the only holdover from the past administration. Dragonboat’s Geraldine “Dina” Bernardo will replace Fr. Vic Uy as the new executive director.

“They have to work right away. It’s very urgent that they work immediately. There are many papers that need to be done,” said Cojuangco, who accompanied Garcia and company to Malacañang early this month to hand their recommendations to Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa.

Garcia said that although he has not yet received the appointment from Malacañang, he was informed by Cojuangco.

They will have a meeting early today before conducting ocular inspections at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

Priority

The Bacolod City-born Garcia, who has been commissioner of the PSC during the administration of former chairmen Carlos “Butch” Tuazon and William “Butch” Ramirez, said his first priority is the 2010 Asian Games in November in Guangzhuo, China and uniting the POC and the PSC.

“The Asian Games is very near, so that’s a priority. My first action also is to re-establish unity between the POC and the PSC,” said Garcia, also a former champion amateur golfer.