EVEN in the absence of a presidential candidate, Philippine Olympic Committee first vice president Manny Lopez is optimistic his group can carry on with its own set of programs should they win in the Nov. 30 election.
Lopez has clearly stood out as the leader of the opposition ticket out to challenge the incumbency of Jose `Peping’ Cojuangco in the absence of a candidate to run as president after sportsman-businessman Manny V. Pangilinan turned down an offer for him to oppose Cojuangco’s bid for a third term.
But Lopez, who is also seeking re-election, said his group is not at all alarmed even if they don’t have a candidate for the post of president as they are inclined to adopt major reforms if and when they get elected in their respective POC positions.
“For now, Peping Cojuangco, in all likelihood, will win,” admitted Lopez, vice-president of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines. “(But) we will go into critical collaboration. Kapag nanalo kami, definitely we will be going back to basics.”
During the Candidates’ Forum where sports leaders seeking positions in the coming POC poll gathered, karate head Joey Romasanta stressed that a group without a presidential candidate will have problems leading the Olympic body.
“Ang team na walang pangulo, mahihirapan,” said Romasanta, the POC spokesman who will be opposing Lopez for the vice-president slot and running under the ticket of Cojuangco.
Included in Lopez’s ticket are Monico Puentevella for chairman, Abraham Tolentino (second vice president), Romeo Ribano (treasurer), Godofredo Galindez (auditor), and Victor Africa, Gener Dungo, and Hector Navasero for board members.
The group of Lopez is pursuing several programs such as the creation of an Olympic academy for students, and coaches accreditation, while promising autonomy among the National Sports Associations.
But Lopez later hinted his group will have its own president in due time.
“Meron kaming president. In the right time, he will show up,” Lopez said without elaborating.
Athletics chief Go Teng Kok has declared himself ready to oppose Cojuangco’s candidacy, but remains ineligible to run as the POC still has to receive the Supreme Court ruling dismissing the persona non-grata case filed against him by the POC General Assembly.