It's not hard to decipher why quite suddenly POC president Peping Cojuangco is reaching out to Manny V. Pangilinan.
In Wednesday's news reports, Cojuangco's cohorts planted the story that maybe it was time for Cojuangco and Pangilinan to join forces to elevate Philippine sports. This comes, of course, after one of the most embarrassing stints in the Olympics for the Philippines, where the country's 11 athletes were massacred, except for one, right at the opening salvo, and where that one survivor did not last the second salvo.
Cojuangco needs someone to deodorize his incumbency, which has seen one devastating setback after another, dating from 2005 to the present. Filipino athletes have been made regular punching bags at the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games, and the Olympics. It's like we're sending out suicide bombers each time we send athletes to the competition, except that, in our case, we end up as the only casualties.
With practically nothing to show as POC president over eight long years, Cojuangco is now looking to get some help. And who better, by his backers' reckoning, to fill this role than Pangilinan? (Aka MVP?) But, wait, Cojuangco and his backers are not offering Pangilinan the crown. No, they're holding on to that one. Instead, they're offering him a title.
The way I see it, Pangilinan will be milked for his image, his dedication, his perseverance, and, quite likely, his money. It's a win-win scenario for the plotters. Cojuangco, seeking a third four-year term, will earn praise for his partnership with MVP, and whether the Philippine athletic community succeeds or fails as a result of the partnership, Cojuangco has nothing to lose. He can't particularly care. He's used to losing. In the meantime, MVP will go down as having contributed to another POC downfall, his image as the man with the Midas touch tarnished forever.
MVP will be made chairman of the POC board, according to sources privy to the plotters' game plan. And MVP may actually think that being POC chairman is much like being chairman of his various companies. That will not be the case, sir.
Chairman of the Philippine Olympic Committee is nothing but a glorified title in these parts. Just ask your friend Monico Puentevella, who has had that title for many years. As chairman, Puentevella's ideas never saw light. It's the president who has the final say on everything.
If the POC is really serious about bringing real change in sports, the first order of business is for Cojuangco to step down as that president and let someone take over who has the vision and dedication to inspire athletes.
Hear this: I have no name in mind. I just know that a change in leadership is overdue. Just because no one has come forward to challenge Cojuangco does not mean that no one is capable of doing this job better.
If Cojuangco is sincerely bent on change, if by some stroke of luck he truly wants to atone for his failed tenure - he should implore MVP to run as POC president instead. Then, should Cojuangco direly wish to stay on the sports scene, he can make himself chairman.
As it is, I don't think MVP is the kind to accept a central position where he can't take on the central role, where his title would be at best ceremonial, and where he can't push for the big change. Because, unless I'm mistaken, this man did not get to be this successful had he not thrown himself into the job, made the decisions that mattered, and taken the responsibility for the outcome.
Now, does that sound like any of our big sports leaders?