A dejected Ricky Vargas resigned his post as President of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) recently. It is a sorry situation, with the hosting of the SouthEast Asian (SEA) Games barely 5 months away. Despite the President’s guidance for all parties to work together to ensure a successful hosting, the internal squabbling within the POC just would not stop. Peping Cojuangco, Joey Romasanta and their coup pals in the Executive Board could not stop their scheming and maneuvering.
They used their ace card in the IOC to put pressure on Vargas. They froze the POC bank accounts by changing the account signatories. They called for meetings and made decisions on their own, in conflict with Vargas’ direction. These efforts to make him appear a lameduck president would ultimately lead to the resignation of the man who could have led the country back to sports respectability.
The country’s sports performance has clearly deteriorated during the last decade under the reign of Peping. This can be seen in our performance both in the Asian Games as well as the SEA Games. At no other point in our sporting history has the country’s ranking dipped so embarrassingly low in both Asian and Southeast Asian Games.
Peping Cojuangco and his coup pals have the dubious distinction of leading the country during the Dark Ages of Philippine Sports. He had the reins of power for all of 11 years, the longest-ever stint for a POC President. He even had the power and the resources of a nephew-turned-President, allowing him to meddle with Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) funds that were supposed to go direct to the NSAs. He and his coup pals had the best connections, both here and abroad. They even had Mikee Cojuangco strategically positioned in the International Olympic Committee (IOC). No matter. They. Still. Failed. MISERABLY.
And it didn’t matter if they failed to pinpoint the reasons behind the debacles. It didn’t matter if they trumpeted some ‘lessons learned’ and yet failed to address them. They couldn’t care less if people saw they didn’t know what they were doing. They still insist on making a comeback. As though once is not enough, they want to jinx the country with another round of decadence, disunity and disrepute.
It will be recalled that during the hosting of the SEA Games in 2005, Peping and his crew were themselves found guilty of fund mismanagement. And this is most likely the reason why Vargas didn’t want the POC involved in any fund transactions.
Romasanta and the coup pals immediately tried to gain the higher moral ground. But clearly, their achievements (or lack thereof), their excesses and misdeeds (of which there are plenty of), and their maneuvers cannot be covered up.
The athletes know about their Olympic Solidarity Fund which got hijacked somewhere. The athletes know about the official-travels-turned-romantic-recreations (34 days in Rio for an Olympics which lasted only 16 days!!?). People know about the lack of attendance in the Board meetings, and the perfect attendance of officials in foreign trips. People talk about the money-making businesses taken from their NSA roles. Want more?
POC coup pals, your time is up. You’ve had more than a decade to show your worth. You blew it. Bigtime. Now you want to portray true virtue, like the wolves-disguised-as-sheep that you really are. Enough is enough. Why don’t you take one long look at the mirror. Perhaps you’ll see it’s time for the younger, new generation of leaders to give it a try.