Stand up for Clint!

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The upcoming Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) election has turned to be both alarming and intriguing. Sunday evening, my source sent me a message informing me that Allan Peter Cayetano has involved himself in the campaign and is now actively campaigning for Bambol Tolentino for Friday’s casting of ballots.

My source told me that Cayetano, through his allies, aggressively talked to the NSAs, especially to those who sided with Aranas, to either change their hearts or to refrain from voting.

This was confirmed by Julius Manicad in his column HOLD MY BEER at Daily Tribune that was published early Monday (Nov. 23, 2020). Accordingly, the besieged former House Speaker and the chairman of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) have pushed for Tolentino victory “at all cost.”

This move is beyond the conclave of sportsmanship. Beyond the bounds of Olympic spirit.

Cayetano is trying, no matter what, to keep Tolentino at his post. And there’s only one reason I could think of – the unsettled billions of government and private funds from the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

Just a reminder, what Cayetano is doing is some kind of political meddling, which is a violation of the International Olympic Council rules that governed all member NOCs.

Kuwait was suspended because of government interference in 2009. Because of that sanction, the country failed to compete in the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics, 2010 Asian Games, and 2011 Asian Winter Olympics. Kuwaiti athletes were allowed to compete in the 2012 London Olympics. But the country was again suspended from 2015 still for undue government interference, although its athletes were able to compete in Rio Olympics under the Independent Olympic Athletes flag.

Although Cayetano’s action was not sanctioned by the government, Jesus Clint Aranas could find a way to elevate this matter at the IOC level, since Cayetano is still an influential government official being a former House Speaker. And if worse comes to worst, our athletes might be playing under the Independent Olympic Athletes flag in Japan Olympic Games. We sure don’t want that.

Winning the POC election would “expunge” whatever questionable transactions PHISGOC was engaged in, including the P1.6Billion government funds and billions more coming from private sponsors, ticket sales, merchandise, broadcast rights and other marketing money.

As of date, PHISGOC could not justify how or where this money was spent, yet PHISGOC still has P387million worth of unpaid supplies and services. Pathetic!

I say it now! If the 2005 PHILSGOC is yet to settle un-liquidated expenses of P27million for the hosting of the 2005 SEA Games, how in heavens could Cayetano and Tolentino liquidate billions of the expenditures of the 2019 SEA Games?

These unexplained finances had compelled Clint Aranas to run against Tolentino which at first appeared to be uncontested.

Aranas batted for the release of PHISGOC financial records and Team SPORTS is advocating transparency and changes in the ways of POC, in general.

All his life, Atty. Aranas stood up for something he believes is worth fighting.

As a Deputy Commissioner at the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Aranas discovered the fake stamps that Mighty corporations were using and they paid billions of pesos in a penalty for that mistake.  Aranas initiated an investigation when BIR hastily plunged into a settlement on the tax liability of Del Monte Philippine instead he was transferred to the Government Security and Insurance System (GSIS). As president and general manager of GSIS, Aranas tried to collect back rental from ICTSI for using GSIS-owned lot at North Harbor for that he drew a lot of heat and later resigned after President Duterte was given wrong impressions of his actions.

Now, he is standing up for peoples’ money, for our athletes and for Philippine sports. Let us unite to stand behind Clint Aranas and let the truth prevail.