Running unopposed, Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco was elected as president for the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) for the fourth time yesterday, getting 26 votes out of a possible 37 in what the veteran Tarlac lawmaker described as the dirtiest runup to the elections.
Cojuangco, 82, was supposed to be challenged by boxing boss Ricky Vargas but the POC election committee disqualified him from running as he didn’t meet a major criteria.
Vargas sought refuge from a Pasig court by filing a motion that was supposed to prevent the elections from taking place but was unable to do so when it was denied last Thursday.
On other fronts, Cojuangco’s ticket also scored overwhelming wins with first vice-president Joey Romasanta of volleyball winning over Negros Rep. Albee Benitez of badminton, 23-14; second VP Jeff Tamayo of soft tennis prevailing over Lucas Managuelod of Muay, 26-11; and treasurer Julian Camacho defeating Sonny Barrios of basketball, 25-12.
Jonee Go of caneo-kayak also got earlier for the position of auditor, claiming that Vargas’ group didn’t get is permission to run.
The four members of the board elected were Clint Aranas of archery (30 votes), Cynthia Carrion of dancesport (30), Robert Mananquil of billiards (28) and Prospero Pichay (27).
There were a total of 37 votes, including 34 NSAs, two representatives for the athletes’ commission, Hidilyn Diaz (weightlifting) and Henry Dagmil (athletics), and one from the International Olympic Committee representative to the Philippines in Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski.
The POC recognizes a total of 41 voting NSAs but bowling was excluded owing to a leadership problem. Other NSAs that failed to send voting representatives save for boxing include cycling, weightlifting, skating, rowing and fencing.
Surprisingly, Vargas didn’t even assign someone from the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines to cast his vote as secretary-general Patrick Gregorio didn’t attend the proceedings.
The last time in Alabang four years ago, Cojuangco, also unopposed, received 32 votes.
In 2008, Cojuangco was challenged by then shooting boss Art Macapagal, who narrowly lost, 21-19, an experience that made him realize how toxic the atmosphere was this time.
“Mas marumi ito eh. Madungis ito. I didn’t like the ventilation. Especially in the media,” said Cojuangco.
But now that the dust has finally settled, Cojuangco reiterated his call for reconciliation.
“I want to get everyone together,” he said. (Nick Giongco)