The leadership dispute within the Philippine Lawn Tennis Association (Philta) is now over after Salvador Andrada and Randy Villanueva agreed on a settlement in a meeting facilitated by International Tennis Federation (ITF) President David Haggerty of the United States and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Jose Cojuangco Jr. at the Kanlaon Room of the Century Park Sheraton Hotel.
“We have to make it sure that it is the best thing that we can do. The ITF won’t dictate you what to do. It’s always your decision. It will be all up to you to start and decide what step to take for the good of tennis,” said Haggerty, who was chairman of board of the United States Tennis Association from 1998 to 2010.
Early in the day, Andrada announced that he has resigned as president of Philta. Villanueva and other Philta officials present in the meeting praised his move. Andarada has been a long-time Philta czar and former Philippine Sports Commission commissioner. His resignation means that he will remain president in a holdover capacity until Philta has elected its new sets of officers sometime in January.
“I have talked to POC President Jose Cojuangco the night before and I agreed with him that we have to work it out within the federation. I also agree that we have to work together and make Philta more inclusive than exclusive,” said Villanueva.
Andrada said that they couldn’t hold the election before the POC election on November 15, hence it would be held either December or January next year.
The Philta leadership row started when its former president Edwin Olivarez resigned on July 15, after being reelected Mayor of Parañaque in May.
Villanueva claimed that since he is the Philta vice-president for international affairs, he must replace Olivarez. But seven out of the 12 members of the board of trustees gathered and elected Andrada to be Philta’s new president on July 29.
POC legal counsel Ramon Malinao, in his letter to Cojuangco dated September 9, said that there is no legal impropriety or irregularity being committed in the election of Andrada and thus, recommended that POC recognize his ascent to the post. But, Villanueva disagreed and sought the help of Haggerty.
“The Philippines has so much potentials. Your country being the seventh largest in terms of population in Asia has enormous talents. The potential is unbelievable. You just need to have a strong tennis program,” Haggerty said.