PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee (POC) presidential candidate Ricky Vargas isn’t counting the chickens before they are hatched, but is hoping their platform will be enough to win voters over to their side when the national Olympic body holds its elections on November 25.
Vargas admitted the political lines are still unclear on the day he declared his candidacy, although his camp has already spoken with several national sports associations (NSAs) about the bid to end the 12-year reign of three-termer Jose 'Peping' Cojuangco.
“The easiest way to say it is, ‘Yes, we do have numbers.’ But I don’t dare to do that because I want to have firm commitments that they believe not only in us but in our platforms,” said Vargas on Monday before he formally filed his certificate of candidacy at the POC office.
Forty-one NSAs, two members of the athletes’ commission, and the International Olympic Committee representative to the Philippines will be voting in this year’s polls.
Vargas said most of the voters have yet to commit to their ticket, claiming the hesitation is borne out of “fear” for the administration of incumbent Cojuangco who is seeking his fourth term as the head of the national Olympic body.
Vargas claimed the NSAs are afraid of being fallen out of favor with the incumbent POC leadership, which, he said, will affect the selection of athletes in international competitions such as the Southeast Asian Games and Asian Games.
“We are talking to NSAs but the 12-year dispensation has caused them fear to come out,” said Vargas. “It is a process where they felt that they are not empowered to run their own affairs and they are vindicative ‘yung dispensation.”
“’Yung kabila naman, they have the numbers out of fear, utang na loob,” he added.
Cojuangco’s camp declined to comment on Vargas’ statements on Monday.
Vargas said his camp has a five-point platform that it believed will right the ship for Philippine sports. The platform revolves around empowering of the NSAs, good governance, selection of athletes based on performance, and a good working relationship with the Philippine Sports Commission and the IOC.
“I think if they get to know the team, we will be able to convince them. It’s more of the same or change?” said Vargas.
“If you ask me, we pray that we do have the numbers in the end,” he added.