FORMER Senator Nikki Coseteng is pondering if President Aquino’s decision to exclude sports in his State of the Nation Address last Monday was a way to show his lack of satisfaction about the performance of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
Sports being snubbed in the President’s SONA has been a trend since Aquino first came into office in 2010.
But his silence could be a way to send off a loud message to the POC, which happens to be led by his uncle, Jose “Peping” Cojuangco.
“This may mean he is not happy with what his uncle is doing,” Coseteng said over lunch with sportswriters on Wednesday. “So instead of saying something bad, he’d rather just not say (anything).”
Cojuangco has long been criticized following the continuous decline of Philippine sports under his term as POC president.
Coseteng believes Philippine sports being left out again by the 55-year-old President in his SONA was a respectful gesture by Aquino to the 80-year-old Cojuangco, the youngest brother of his mother, the late President Cory Aquino.
“Sometimes you have to be polite. Mas matanda sa kanya ‘yun,” the former lawmaker said. “I think it’s a matter of wisdom na lang on his part, being cordial.”
“He wasn’t really bashing anybody there in the SONA,” she added. “(He didn’t say) ‘praise everybody except my uncle’. Ang labo naman pag ganun.”
Coseteng, who attended Aquino’s sixth and final SONA, said Cojuangco didn’t grace the event.
“I didn’t see him there,” she said. “Maybe that shows there could be a rift or he’s just being polite.”
There were unconfirmed reports earlier this year about Cojuangco leading an elitist group which has been demanding his nephew to step down from his post.
Coseteng, daughter of founding PBA president Emerson Coseteng and team manager of the defunct pro team Mariwasa, is hoping the state of Philippine sports to finally improve.
“What we should watch out for and maybe hope for is that Congress and Senate will start doing something about it,” said the 62-year-old Coseteng, now a Philippine Swimming League (PSL) official.
“(Cagayan de Oro Rep.) Rufus Rodriguez told me in the SONA that he was going to do something about it. (Sen.) Koko Pimentel said he was going to tell (fellow senators and sports advocates) Sonny Angara and Pia Cayetano about it.”