UNLESS Go Teng Kok comes up with a last-minute surprise, Jose `Peping’ Cojuangco will formally claim a fresh mandate as Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president on Friday when the body holds its elections at the Alabang Golf and Country Club.
Cojuangco, the 78-year-old former Tarlac congressman who is seeking a third straight term, is running unopposed after the POC election committee disqualified Go from running owing to his persona non-grata status with the country’s Olympic body.
And just as Go threatened to seek a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the courts to stop the holding of the elections, the longtime president of the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association on Wednesday night shocked everyone else when he decided to withdraw from the elections.
At the same time, Go said he’ll no longer seek a TRO so as not to disrupt the polls.
With Cojuangco unchallenged in his position, focus now shifts to members of his ticket who will be opposed by the party of incumbent POC vice-president Manny Lopez.
The platform of the Lopez group revolves around reforming the Olympic body, while emphasizing the respect of the autonomy of National Sports Associations (NSAs).
Lopez, who will be seeking a second term as vice-president against karatedo chief and former Gintong Alay head Joey Romasanta, is confident of winning despite not carrying a presidential candidate in their ticket.
The former president of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines has been a staunch critic of Cojuangco since announcing his intention to run against his former ally.
“Hindi na kami magpapaka PBB - pipi, bulag, bingi,” he said.
“For now, Peping Cojuangco, in all likelihood, will win. We will go into critical collaboration. Kapag nanalo kami, definitely we will be going back to basics.”
Running under Cojuangco’s ticket aside from Romasanta are Tom Carrasco for chairman, Jeff Tamayo for second vice president, Julian Camacho for treasurer, Prospero Pichay for auditor, and Cynthia Carrion, Dave Carter, Jonne Go, and Ernesto Echauz for board members.
Lopez is joined in his ticket by incumbent chairman Monico Puentevella, Abraham Tolentino (second vice president), Romeo Ribano (treasurer), Godofredo Galindez (auditor), and Gener Dungo and Hector Navasero (board members).