Peping or Art for POC post

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — WILL it be the incumbent or the challenger?

We’ll know the answer today when 40 voting members from the associations making up the Philippine Olympic Committee select through secret balloting the man who’ll head the country’s highest sports body in the next four years.

The protagonists for the POC presidency are Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, brother of former President Cory Aquino, and Arturo “Art” Macapagal, half-brother of President Macapagal-Arroyo.

The polls, where 40 voting members are expected to participate, will be held at 2 p.m. at the posh Alabang Golf and Country Club.

Tasked to supervise the proceedings is the three-man COMELEC led by former congressman Victorico Chavez, with members Ricky Palou of Ateneo and La Salle’s Bro. Bernie Oca.

According to Chavez, each representative of the 39 national sports association (NSA) “would be called on to personally cast the vote for the NSA.”

International Olympic Committee (IOC) representative to the Philippines Frank Elizalde is the 40th voting member of the POC.

Cojuangco is eyeing another four-year term as POC chief.

If elected anew, the former Tarlac legislator and head of the equestrian association said he would push for a “comprehensive law on sports and continue the programs” he started four years ago.

He won the POC presidency via acclamation in 2004.

“I’m hoping that after the elections, all the NSAs will again join hands and work together as on. It will not help the POC if there are factions within the organization,” Cojuangco said.

Macapagal, who heads the Philippine National Shooting Association (PNSA), is batting for change in the POC.

“It’s not that I’m going to save RP sports, I’m no messiah,” Macapagal, a former Olympian in the 1972 Munich Olympics and 1976 Montreal Games, said

Under the Cojuangco ticket, running for other POC posts are Manny Lopez of boxing as 1st vice president, Mario Tanchangco of sepak takraw as 2nd VP, Julian Camacho of wushu as treasurer and Corrina Benipayo-Mojica of bodybuilding as auditor.

For board of directors, the Cojuangco list includes Brawner, judo’s Dave Carter and swimming’s Mark Joseph.

Cycling’s Bert Lina, who was earlier named as one of the aspirants in the board of directors, withdrew from Cojuangco’s ticket because of a business trip abroad.

For Macapagal, his ticket includes Abraham Tolentino of chess as 1st VP, football’s Pablito Araneta as second VP, Romeo Ribano of squash as treasurer and dragon boat’s Judith Hakim as auditor.

Also in Macapagal’s list for board of directors are Donnie Altura of sailing, Pedro Mendoza of volleyball, baseball’s Hector Navasero and Jeffrey Tamayo of soft tennis.

Bacolod City Rep. Monico Puentevella of weightlifting is running for chairman as an independent, while taekwondo’s Robert Aventajado, under Macapagal’s team, is seeking a third term.