by Nick Giongco
The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) leadership is holding out an olive branch to the group of former president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco as Malacañang reiterates its call for unity six months before the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
“POC president Ricky Vargas is now reaching out to his fellow sports leaders,” said POC Communications Director Ed Picson during the weekly forum of the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports at the National Press Club on Thursday.
“We know we have to set aside our differences and work together to achieve our common goal in the SEA Games,” said Picson.
During last Monday’s POC General Assembly, Vargas overhauled the makeup of key posts being held by officials aligned with Cojuangco.
Vargas took out defeated Makati congressman Monsour del Rosario as chief of mission (CDM) of the 2019 SEAG and assigned Philippine Sports Commission chairman William “Butch” Ramirez while POC first vice president Joey Romasanta was relieved to give way to POC chairman Bambol Tolentino as CDM of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Even Cojuangco and squash chief Richard Bachmann were stripped off their respective committee chairmanships in the aftermath of Vargas’ wrath.
“Even after the sweeping changes he initiated in the POC , Mr. Vargas assured everybody that there is nothing personal in his decision,” said Picson.
“Mr. Vargas is willing to keep his peace as long as it will benefit the athletes and sports in general. He is already 67 and looking forward to a quiet life – away from all the stress. Ayaw na nga nya sana, pero may mga pangako pa siya sa mga atleta natin,” added Picson.