EVEN without the man considered as the biggest threat to his bid for a third term as Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president, incumbent Jose `Peping’ Cojuangco is still not taking chances in the November 30 election of the country’s Olympic governing body.
POC spokesperson Joey Romasanta said Cojuangco was elated with the turnout of National Sports Association heads and their respective representatives during the dinner-meeting which the former Tarlac congressman hosted in his Palm Avenue residence in Dasmarinas, Makati last Wednesday night.
But that doesn’t mean the Cojuangco camp is already assured of getting the nod of the majority based on the number of attendees who showed up during the gathering.
“Numbers are inconclusive,” said Romasanta on Thursday. “Kasi `yung ibang nagpunta sa dinner ni MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan), nandun din naman sa dinner ni Cong (Cojuangco).”
Pangilinan, earlier groomed as the best candidate to challenge Cojuangco for the POC presidency, hosted a separate dinner on Monday that was attended by at least 19 NSA presidents and seven association representatives.
Two days later, the president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas suddenly backed out of the race, leaving Cojuangco without a winnable opponent less than 24 hours before the filing of the official candidacy expires.
Deadline for aspirants for the POC election is until 12 noon of Friday.
But this is no time to relax, according to Romasanta, saying anything can still happen especially with the MVP group opting to field candidates for other positions even with Pangilinan no longer running.
“In an election, you always have to be ready for any possibility,” said the former Gintong Alay project director, pointing out that anyone from the MVP group who are heads of NSAs can challenge Cojuangco’s reelection bid.
Romasanta, who heads the karate federation, is running as Cojuangco’s 1st vice-president, with Jeff Tamayo of squash as 2nd vice-president, and wushu’s Julian Camacho seeking reelection as treasurer.
Tom Carrasco is being groomed either as treasurer or chairman, while their slate for the board of directors is comprised of gymnastics’ Cynthia Carrion, Dave Carter of judo, Jonne Go of canoe-kayak, and sailing’s Ernesto Echauz.
Cojuangco has yet to announce who will be his ticket’s likely candidate for chairman, although there are reports that National Chess Federation of the Philippines president Prospero Pichay is being considered for the position. With reports from Reuben Terrado.