A lawmaker has threatened to seek the suspension of the Philippine membership in the International Olympic Committee if Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Jose “Peping” Cojuangco won’t resign from his post.
1 Pacman party-list Rep. Mikee Romero, Chairman of the Philippine Basketball Association Board of Governors, made the call in light of Cojuangco’s fresh five-year mandate as POC President which the 82-year-old Cojuangco won unopposed after contender Ricky Vargas was disqualified from the race at the 11th hour by the Cojuangco-led POC due to supposed lack of attendance in general meetings.
If the Philippines will be suspended by the IOC, the country would be banned from participating in any IOC-sanctioned tournament that includes the biennial Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, the Asian Games (held every four years) and the Olympics (also held every four years).
Romero stressed that Cojuangco must leave his post due to gross incompetence since the Philippines has already registered its worst ever finish in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in 2015 by ending up seventh out of the 11 countries who competed in the SEA Games.
“We could look at seeking our suspension from the IOC. We could be suspended until a formal election of POC officials, governed by the IOC, will commence. The downside is that we can’t participate in the SEA Games, but the upside is we will be able to change the leadership which has been embarrassing us for so long,” Romero said in a news forum.
Team Philippines only got 29 golds—behind Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and even Myanmarwhich has been under military junta until 2009. Moreover, the Philippines’ worst SEA Games finish happened just 10 years after it won its first ever SEA Games overall championship during the 2005 SEA Games held in Manila.
“Then again, what good is joining a competition when we will just end up cowering in shame? We’re already at number 7 out of 11 competing countries. If this goes on, we might finish 10th out of 11 countries in the next SEA Games, unless Mr. Cojuangco steps down,” Romero pointed out.
In Cojuangco’s 12 years as POC President, the Philippines has been on a free fall in the SEA Games. From winning the overall SEA Games title in 2005, it slid to sixth place in 2007, fifth in 2009, sixth again in 2011, and a lowly seventh in 2013 and 2015.
In the 2015 SEA Games, two Filipino divers John Pahoyo and John Fabriga also became famous for all the wrong reasons after their performances turned out to be a huge failure with both of them landing on their backs in the water.
“Mr. Peping Cojuangco, you have been there for 12 years. You were given all the chances to change the state of Philippine sports. Mahiya naman tayo (Have some shame). It’s time to give it to some other people. I challenge all our sportsmen and women to make their voice heard in this,” Romero said.
“If we have a President who drags our economy down, we don’t elect that same President again. The same is true with sports. Sports is supposed to uplift and inspire us to do better, and that is certainly not the case,” Romero added in closing.