IN what could be the strongest sign yet that Manny V. Pangilinan is open to vying for the presidency of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), a top MVP lieutenant on Wednesday night urged the various national sports associations to rally behind the telecommunications tycoon.
Ricky Vargas, president of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) and one of the closest associates of Pangilinan, came out in the open and hinted about the possibility of MVP vying in the POC election set on November 30.
Incumbent Jose `Peping’ Cojuangco is seeking a third consecutive term as head of the country’s Olympic governing body.
“Time for the NSAs to speak up if they want change. Otherwise, let the status quo remain,” said Vargas, also the top honcho of Maynilad, in a text message late Wednesday night.
“Knowing MVP, he would be open to lead Philippine sports if asked,” Vargas added.
Vargas, also the vice chairman of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas which Pangilinan heads, is the first close associate to indicate that MVP can be prevailed upon to run for the POC presidency.
The sports patron has repeatedly stressed in the past that he is not interested in the position, saying the POC job requires full-time attention which he cannot commit.
Endorsing Pangilinan for the highest position in Philippine sports, Vargas added, “He (MVP) is in the best position to do so and bring Philippine sports to a new level of performance.”
So far, only athletics chief Go Teng Kok has openly declared his intention to contest Cojuangco’s bid for a third term as POC president, but the controversial official has said that he is willing to back out should MVP decide to run.
The statement of Vargas came in the wake of a dispute between ABAP and Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia, who was quoted as saying that the boxing body should conduct open tryouts to avoid alleged favoritism in determining members of its national training pool.
Garcia, a longtime ally of Cojuangco, has denied making the statements.