Araneta abandons plan to challenge ‘Peping’

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A day after announcing his intention to challenge incumbent Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. when the Olympic body holds an election on November 25, Philippine Football Federation (PFF) President Mariano Araneta announced that he will no longer run for POC president.

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Araneta said that he would just support Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines President Ricky Vargas.

“I won’t file [for candidacy]anymore,” Araneta told The Manila Times on Thursday through a text message. “I will be supporting Mr. Ricky Vargas who is definitely running for POC president. I already got a confirmation from his staff that he will definitely run so I will give way.”

“What important is somebody from us will challenge Cojuangco. I’m pretty sure he is not the only one who can run Philippine sports. In his 12 years as a sports leader, he didn’t sit well as president which affected the entire landscape of Philippine sports including the welfare of the athletes.”

“We need a fresh start and this is the right time. I’m here to help Vargas at any capacity.”

According to Araneta, Cojuangco failed to strengthen the relationship between the POC and the different National Sport Associations (NSAs), “Under his leadership, it’s more of a divide and conquer for most NSAs in his time,” he said.

Vargas, though, refused to confirm yet if he would challenge Cojuangco. “I’m still thinking about it, please give me enough time until Sunday but I’m really happy that there are many sports leaders who are supporting me. I’m still consulting other people about it and what way I can help Philippine sports,” he added. “I will let you know on Sunday or possibly by Monday,” Vargas told The Times.

Individuals who intend to run for the post have until Monday to file their candidacy at the POC office in Pasig City.

“Let’s see first who will file [their candidacy]on Monday. We, the POC, welcome them. Regarding Araneta’s negative remarks, we won’t say anything about it since it is natural because the election is getting near,” POC Spokesman and first Vice President Joey Romasanta said.

Cojuangco, who is running for a fourth term and is the POC president since 2004, told his critics to shun politicking, “We are now improving and let’s just work together for better Philippine sports instead of politicking,” he said.

The POC is holding elections every four years after the Olympic Games.

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