Cycling chief Bambol Tolentino was reelected as president of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) for a fresh four-year mandate in the country’s highest governing body for sports.
Tolentino, also a Tagaytay City Representative and secretary general of chess, defeated archery head Atty Clint Aranas, 30-22, in a proceeding held at the East Ocean Palace Restaurant on Friday.
Also elected were handball’s Steve Hontiveros as chairman (28 votes), basketball’s Al Panlilio as first vice president (30), fencing’s Richard Gomez as second vice president (31), gymnastics’s Cynthia Carrion as treasurer (27) and baseball’s Chito Loyzaga as auditor (26).
Surfing’s Raul Canlas (36 votes), muay’s Pearl Managuelod (31), netball’s Charlie Ho (28), and judo’s Dave Carter (27) were elected as board members.
“It is an honor to serve the Filipino athletes again,” said Tolentino.
“Definitely there will be a lot of surprises. For more than one year, we’ve shown a lot in helping our athletes. With four years especially with this team, definitely, there will be a lot of programs.”
Tolentino won the presidency against athletics chief Philip Juico in a special election held last July 2019, a month after Ricky Vargas stepped down from his post.
Tolentino hopes to continue the programs following a successful Southeast Asian Games participation that saw the Filipino athletes winning the overall championship.
His ticket also aims to strengthen the relationships with the national sports associations in helping them to be self-sustaining through strong partnerships with the private sector as well as the Philippine Sports Commission.
“There will be lots of challenges especially next year with the Tokyo Olympics. This might be our year to get our first Olympic gold. We have to focus on that,” Tolentino said.
Aranas, meanwhile, accepted the defeat in grace by congratulating Tolentino after he has reached the majority of 27 votes even while counting was not yet over.
“I wish the newly-elected officials the best of luck and with God’s blessings, I hope that they will promote sports to the best of their abilities,” he said.
Fifty-three of 54 voters cast their ballots with only table tennis absent in the proceedings. Among the 54 voters were 51 sports officials, Hidilyn Diaz and Jessie Lacuna as athletes’ representatives and International Olympic Committee representative to the Philippines Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski.