Cong. Peping grasping for straws?

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose Cojuangco Jr. suggested last week that the elections of the highest amateur sports body be done through a “straw vote.”

Cojuangco broached the proposal, citing the fact that this would ease the tension surrounding the POC polls, now set Nov. 28, which he said might become ornery as the exercise draws near.

A straw vote is an informal process where an unofficial poll is taken to determine the strength of candidates or issues; it shows what the trend is.

This is also sometimes called a straw poll.

However, since it is “unofficial” the outcome is not binding on the candidates or concerns being taken up.

If a candidate is behind, then he knows what he has to work on — or whom.

On the other hand, a frontrunning contender cannot also rest on its out come because complacency might prove to be his downfall.

The former Tarlac congressman claimed that by resorting to a straw vote, the POC polls would turn less “bloody,” in a matter of speaking.

Adopting this step, he said would “prevent the unnecessary and unwelcome polarization of the (POC) organization.”

But the proposal was tactfully turned down by shooting chief Art Macapagal, who is contesting the POC presidency with Cojuangco.

The former Olympian and bemedalled shooter said that the incumbent’s concerns were unfounded, allaying fears that the contest might become “too personal.”

“As long as we don’t treat our adversaries as enemies, we should not worry about disunity in the Olympic family,” said Macapagal, who was out of the country when he issued the press statement and Cojuangco made the proposal.

Taekwondo head Robert Aventajado, who is running as POC chairman under Macapagal’s ticket, echoed the same sentiments when he said that the straw vote was not needed since it was Cojuangco himself who formed the election committee and drew up the poll guidelines.

From where we sit, the straw-vote ploy could benefit Cojuangco more than Macapagal, since this would tip his rival’s hand in revealing who is really supporting his candidacy.

The POC president announced his ticket last week, claiming that he had already mustered 20 votes, or one short of ensuring his reelection.

But he was also quick to admit that he had not touched base with all of his prospective votes.

From this admission, we sense that Cojuangco is apparently still grasping for straws, uncertain of the men and women who are on his side.

Looking at his slate, we can see some who may be vulnerable to switching sides when crunch time comes.

As to who these people are, we leave that to Cojuangco and company to determine.

On the other hand, Macapagal’s camp is keeping its cards close to its chest.

We’re sure that its ticket will be revealed when the time is ripe — and we reckon none of them will be straw horses.

Here and there: The eighth leg of the 2008 Hitachi National Criterium Grand Prix set for this Sunday in Angeles, Pampanga has been reset to October 26. Veteran photographer Ramon Vecina’s one-man photo exhibit “58 Years of Sports Images” opens at 5 p.m. tomorrow at the SM Mall of Asia open-air activity center. The event is open free to the public