by: Recah Trinidad, Bare Eye – @inquirer.net
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:00 AM August 03, 2019
Recah Trinidad is one of the country’s preeminent sportswriters. He has been covering Philippine Sports for almost half a century, hence his vast knowledge on the subject. Here, he talks about the dark clouds still hovering over the POC. There is a clearly a lack of unity in the POC, despite the President’s – as well as the IOC’s – expressed desire for our sports leaders to close ranks and ensure the successful hosting of the SouthEast Asian (SEA) Games. It is the new President, Bambol Tolentino, up against the old Peping mafia which refuses to relinquish their hold on power.
Yesterday’s scheduled Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) executive board meeting did not push through. Reason: there was no quorum.
Before that, it was easy claiming peace and unity were due in the POC, following the election of national cycling federation chief Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino as its president.
It was a bright smiling day for poor Philippine sports, it was noted here.
The POC polls, held on Sunday at Century Park Manila, were supposed to bring order in the fragmented POC, particularly within the powerful executive board.
Tolentino, upbeat, announced he would immediately hold a get-together and meeting of the POC board.
Tolentino, aware of uncooperative forces, still expected fair sailing, but at the same time said he would not hesitate and turn to the general assembly if he encountered hitches.
Tolentino also vowed to set things moving and rush work and everything for the successful hosting of the Southeast Asian Games four months from now.
Bambol Tolentino elected as new POC president, everything seemed a go.
It didn’t take long, however, before we received this revealing message regarding Tolentino’s elevation to the top POC position.
“The old guards didn’t like Bambol,” said fellow deadline beater Percy Della, an insider and keen follower of happenings in the POC.
“He has a style, while still the chair, of ramming through or doing things without regard for parliamentary practice, ayaw ng old guard, aka executive board,” Della said.
Soon, there came a call from Steve Hontiveros, a seasoned sports reformist who was elected chair in the last POC polls.
Hontiveros was thankful for his election, but readily decried disunity and overlapping of roles of the POC, Philippine Sports Commission, national sports associations (NSAs) and Phisgoc.
He said these agencies must sit down and have a memorandum of agreement.
“We must work together and find a common denominator,” Hontiveros said.
He said it’s a sensitive and explosive issue, with the pride and dignity of the Philippines at stake.
“It’s a shame. Foreign countries have been asking me what’s going on,” he added.
Malacañang has gone out of its way in giving its full backing, not to mention a record P6-billion budget for the Games.
Should they call in Manny Pacquiao or Miss Universe Catriona Gray as a last resort?
Nothing clear and nothing sure, except chaos and disunity.
Pray that the cancellation of yesterday’s executive board meeting was caused by bad weather, not by a wrecking storm within the POC.