Peping Cojuangco says he's open to working with Vargas after heated poll fight
Peping Cojuangco is set to win a fourth term as POC president. Dante Peralta

PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco has called for healing after a controversy-filled lead-up to Friday’s election of the national Olympic body.

Cojuangco spoke after the Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 159 denied a motion by Ricky Vargas' camp to issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the elections.

The decision clears the way for Cojuangco to all but claim a fourth term as POC chief unopposed, needing only a simple majority from the 43 voting members to formally win the election.

“I’m very happy with the decision of the court. This gives me an opportunity to really proceed with my plans,” said Cojuangco.

[See No legal hurdle for Cojuangco as Vargas petition for TRO denied]

Vargas filed a motion for TRO after the POC election committee declared him ineligible to run as a candidate for not being an ‘active member’ of the general assembly.

Cojuangco said his first order of business is bring back unity among the POC members, especially with the Southeast Asian Games and Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games approaching.

“I will do my best to restore the harmonious relationship in the POC before the elections. We need all the help we can get. We have two international tournaments. We don’t have much time. ‘Yun muna ang aasikasuhin ko,” said Cojuangco.

Cojuangco also said he is also open to working with Vargas despite the controversy that shrouded the POC elections, for the sake of Philippine sports and the national athletes.

“Of course, why not,” said Cojuangco, when asked if he is open to work with Vargas. “Natural lang sa akin ‘yun. I’ve been through a lot of political exercise already. That’s how I look at it.”

Meanwhile, Joey Romasanta, head of volleyball and karatedo, is seeking a second term as first vice president as he faces Rep. Albie Benitez of badminton, while Jeff Tamayo of soft tennis is also going for another term as second vice president against Lucas Managuelod of muay.

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Julian Camacho of wushu eyes another term as treasurer against Sonny Barrios of basketball, while Jonne Go of canoe kayak is running unopposed as auditor.

Clint Aranas of archery, Robert Mananquil of billiards and snooker, Rep. Prospero Pichay of chess, and Cynthia Carrion of gymnastics have virtually taken the four-man board being the only persons who filed for candidacy for the positions.

The position for POC chairman will not be up for grabs as both Tom Carrasco of triathlon and Rep. Abraham Tolentino of cycling were disqualified for not meeting the requirements of being a candidate.

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