Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) President Ricky Vargas declared that the time has come to empower the National Sports Associations (NSAs) for the betterment of Philippine sports.
Vargas, 64, filed his certificate of candidacy on Monday at the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) office in Pasig City, formalizing his intent to challenge incumbent POC President Jose Cojuangco Jr. in the organization’s November 25 election.
“If I will be elected as POC president, my first priority is to empower all the NSAs so that they will be able to empower their respective athletes. I’m also willing to focus on my daily job as POC head. I’m very happy for the overwhelming support of different NSA heads,” Vargas told The Manila Times at the POC office in Pasig City on Monday.
“We have a very energetic team, a fresh team and ready to serve,” added Vargas, who is also the current team governor of Philippine Basketball Association team Talk ‘N Text. “It is up to the NSA heads if they like to keep the same set up of officers or try something new.”
Vargas, a trusted ally of businessman Manny V. Pangilinan, was accompanied by Tagaytay City Rep. Abraham Tolentino, Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez, Sonny Barrios and retired General Lucas Managuelod.
Tolentino, the president of PhilCycling, will be running for POC chairman while Benitez, the secretary-general of Philippine Badminton Association is eyeing the first vice-president seat. Muaythai Association of the Philippines President Managuelod will be running for second vice-president, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Executive Director Barrios will be running for treasurer, while Philippine Table Tennis Federation President Ting Ledesma will be running for auditor.
“I’m hoping they will allow us to run especially Mr. Vargas,” said Tolentino. “They are in power for 12 years and we believe it is time for a change in the leadership. We are not contesting what Peping Cojuangco has done to Philippine sports. It is time for a change. ”
Meanwhile, Philippine Football Federation President Mariano Araneta expressed his all-out support to Vargas.
“Ricky Vargas, with his vast experience in good corporate governance and sports administration will make the POC a respected organization once again and bring in the necessary reforms for Philippine sports to achieve its true potential and give the attention it truly deserves.”
Cojuangco, who was first elected in 2004, is gunning for his fourth consecutive term as president.
“Nobody is preventing anyone from running. This is a democratic process,” Cojuangco’s running mate Joey Romasanta told The Times in a phone interview. Romasanta is also the president of Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc.