THE group of Manny Lopez has rallied around embattled athletics chief Go Teng Kok as it continues to appeal that he be allowed to run for the presidency of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
From Lopez, Romeo Ribano, to Victor Africa, all of them agreed the November 30 election would be less of a disaster should incumbent president Jose `Peping’ Cojuangco have an opponent in the person of Go.
“Tulad po ng karamihan ng aming kasamahan, pahihintulutan po namin si Go Teng Kok,” said Lopez, the current POC vice-president who is seeking re-election.
Ribano, who is running for the position of treasurer, added “from a personal point of view, I think Go Teng Kok should be allowed to run. Why? Because if he is not allowed to run there will be no election for president and Mr. Cojuangco will just be declared president without people really knowing how many wanted to vote for him or not.”
At the moment, the POC election committee’s decision to bar Go from running still stands, prompting the longtime Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association president to contemplate seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the court to stop the holding of Friday’s highly-awaited election.
For Lopez and Co. that meant an even bigger mess for Philippine sports.
“Sa amin po ang kagustuhan po naman sana namin ay matuloy ang election,” Lopez said in the weekly PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate. “Dahil lalo pong mas magiging magulo kung `yung buong election ang maaapektuhan.’
The POC election committee referred to Go’s current status as persona non grata in barring him from running for the POC presidency, even though the controversial sports figure had already gotten a favorable decision from a Regional Trial Court regarding the matter.
Go was declared persona non grata by the POC general assembly after he took officials of the country’s Olympic governing body to court following his removal as president of the karatedo federation.
The POC appealed the RTC decision before the Supreme Court, only to be denied later on.
Shortly after, the country’s Olympic body labeled the court decision as tantamount to government intervention, and could likely lead to the country’s suspension by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Lopez said his group understands the position of Go if and when he seeks another TRO from the court.
But at the same time, he has one major suggestion for Go.
“Kung makakausap ninyo po si Mr Go Teng Kok, pakibanggit na lang po na ang i-TRO na lang niya ay `yung posisyon ng president, para silang dalawa na lang muna ang magka-problema,” the former Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines president added in the session presented by Shakey’s and the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation.
“Because ito namang walong posisyon na aming paglalabanan, wala namang problema. We will go head on whoever our opponent is.”
In the event the POC stands pat on its decision, Lopez and his group are planning to put the word `on protest’ across the position of president on the ballot.