Things are coming to a head in the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) as President Ricky Vargas wrestles with a rebellious POC Executive Board that is filled with remnants of the old power bloc of Peping Cojuangco.
In a special meeting recently, the Executive Board has directed the POC president to explain in writing certain concerns that they brought up. Among them: the incorporation of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), why the need for a PHISGOC when the POC could handle the preparation of the Games, the broadcast rights, the utilization of government and private sector funds, and the authorities for disbursement and expenses for the Games.
While the Board claimed there was no intention to remove Vargas, it was clear that a coup try is already building up. The coup pals are looking for ways to make Vargas a lame duck president, and hope that he will be perceived a weak president with nothing to show during his term as President. The coup pals have had years of practice in controlling the purse strings, and would like people to believe they have extensive experience in building sports facilities and the training of athletes, hence they believe they can do the job better than the PHISGOC.
And the PHISGOC itself is not without its drama either. Preparations for the hosting of the incoming SEA is supposedly in full swing, but there are disturbing indications that the sites will not be ready in time for the Games. (More on the PHISGOC on a later issue.)
But the biggest energy-drainer in this whole exercise is the power struggle in the POC between President Vargas and the Executive Board of coup pals. The coup pals should have submitted their courtesy resignation when Vargas came in. It will be recalled that the POC Board election came with the POC Presidential election which was voided by the court. These coup pals came in an electoral slate under Peping, which meant a clear victory since Peping was running unopposed. With Peping’s election discredited, it goes without saying that the victory of the slate he carried should have been voided as well. At the very least, these coup pals should have had the delicadeza to submit their courtesy resignations to pave the way for a re-election of a new Board.
Unfortunately, the coup pals are made of thicker stuff.
Clearly, there is a need to resolve the leadership impasse in the POC. Who really runs the show here? Is it Vargas? Or the coup pals? Once this is resolved, the other issues will fall in place.
There is the issue on the division within many different sports. There is the issue on the non-performing NSAs. (Incidentally, most of the coup pals’ NSAs are not performing well. Their actions are better served getting their athletes to perform better.) There is also the issue on the constitutional reforms drastically needed. And more!
Philippine Sports today needs a major facelift. At a time when ‘Change is coming’ has become a battle cry, resistance to change remains in vogue in the oh-so-antiquated POC. This is why we continue to be outperformed by our neighbors in the SEA Games – despite our bigger population, our better resources, our more advanced technologies.
Let us commit ourselves to reforming Philippine Sports. Change must come. NOW!!!
For more on our advocacy to #ReformPhilippineSports, please click on: