WITH President Duterte nearing the end of his term, the Philippine Sports Commission is preparing for a leadership change.
At the moment, incoming president Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. has yet to appoint a PSC chairman or his four commissioners with three days to go before his inauguration on Thursday, but sources said the search has long started.
One of the prominent names being mentioned for the chairmanship is former PBA commissioner Noli Eala, a former broadcaster who has extensive experience in sports administration.
A commissioner of the PBA responsible for several innovations in the league from 2003 to 2007, Eala also served as the executive director of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and the sports director of San Miguel Corporation.
Eala has yet to respond to SPIN.ph’s queries on a possible appointment as PSC chairman, but sources said his name is on the list.
Outgoing Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Baham Mitra is also being mentioned as a candidate for a PSC position.
“As of now, I think there is a lawyer and sportsman that is vying and asking for that position. We will gladly give way and we will support,” said Mitra when asked about a possible appointment in the last PSA Forum.
No final decisions yet
Sources said the search is still ongoing and no final decision has been made on the next PSC chairman or the four commissioners.
The President-elect's own immediate family has members with deep knowledge and connections in sports who he can consult about the positions to be filled in the government sports agency.
Among them is cousin Michael Keon, who served as head of the Gintong Alay sports program during the Marcos years. However, the current Laoag City mayor and Bongbong Marcos have been estranged for years.
There's also newly reelected Ilocos Norte governor Matthew Manotoc, the President-elect's nephew who is a former national golfer and co-founder of the Espiritu Manotoc Basketball Management.
Outgoing PSC chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez and his commissioners had their final flag-raising ceremony on Monday. Insiders are not ruling out a return by Ramirez, who is also allied with Vice-President elect Sara Duterte.
Ramirez along with PSC commissioners Ramon Fernandez, Charles Maxey, Celia Kiram, and Arnold Agustin were given plaques of appreciation by the management committee led by executive director Guillermo Iroy.
Ramirez is proud of the strides Philippine sports made during their six-year term highlighted by the country finally winning a gold in the Olympics courtesy of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz.
“You cannot expect our athletes to perform in the international stage if we don’t take care of them,” said Ramirez during a recent interview. “Mahalin mo sila at mamahalin ka rin nila.”