Deciding moment!

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Hours from now, we will witness the unveiling of a new chapter of Philippine sports as the leaders of various national federations will cast their votes for the new sets of officers of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).

At 1:30PM (GMT +8) National Sports Association (NSA) presidents or their representatives will write the names of the person whom they think fit to lead the Olympic body for the next four years.

This afternoon is all about incumbent president Bambol Tolentino of cycling and his challenger Jesus Clint Aranas of archery and their tickets, of course. All of whom have sworn to uphold the highest tenet of sportsmanship and Olympic spirits. Or will they?

That remains an issue for Tolentino, who is seeking a full term as his presidency had only began in July of 2019 when he beat Philip Ella Juico of track and field in an poll called following the resignation of boxing president Ricky Vargas, who himself won in a court mandated election over beleaguered Peping Cojuangco of equestrian in February 2017.

Among the issues thrown by Aranas is the failure to act on the proposed amendments of the POC by-laws and the most cogent concern is its failure to present the financial statements that includes the financial assistance and the sponsorship, ticket sales and broadcast rights and other marketing money which amount to billions of pesos received by PHISGOC for the hosting of the 2019 SEA Games, which is an event of the POC.

Many NSAs believed that if Tolentino win today (Nov. 27) the liquidation and financial statement issue would put to bed since his main concern right now is the “welfare of the Olympic bound” athletes.

Aside from the election there will be the lingering question as to who will be given the right to vote as badminton representative. Former vice president Jojo Binay contested the list of voters provided by the secretary general, claiming that he is the legitimate president of the badminton federation and not Albee Benitez. The resolution of this matter will depend on the agreement that both camps will come up today.

The tennis association is also in the limelight as the International Tennis Federation (ITF) suspended the Philippine Lawn Tennis Association (PHILTA) for failure to conduct a “valid election and failure to implement constitutional reforms.” Although POC election committee might give Tony Cablitas the opportunity to vote for tennis.

By the way Tolentino’s running mates are Tom Carrasco of triathlon (chairman), basketball’s Al Panlilio (1st vice president), fencing and modern pentathlon’s Richard Gomez (2nd vice president), gymnastics’ Cynthia Carrion (treasurer), baseball’s Chito Loyzaga (auditor) and Pearl Managuelod of muay thai, judo’s Dave Carter, Prospero Pichay of chess and surfing’s Jose Raul Canlas as members of the board.

While Aranas ticket includes Steve Hontiveros seeking re-election as chairman, Juico of track and field for 1st vice president, Ada Milby of Rugby Football Union secretary general for 2nd VP, Julian Camacho of Wushu (treasurer), Monico Puentevella of weightlifting for auditor and Robert Manangquil (billiards), Robert Bachmann (squash), Jeff Tamayo of taekwondo and Charlie Ho (netball)for board members.

The election will be held at the East Ocean Palace Restaurant in Paranaque City and the proper health protocol is observed to the maximum.