THE dust appears to be settling in the high-profile assault aimed at discrediting the Philippines’ hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games held a year ago, and who do we see left standing but the very people whose names have been relentlessly attacked publicly?
Just this Friday, Cavite (8th District) Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino was reelected president of the Philippine Olympic Commission (POC), receiving a fresh mandate despite the mud that has been slung at him the past months.
It is a vindication for a man who had been at the bull’s eye of the relentless attacks on an event that brought pride and glory to the nation, supporters of SEA Games said.
Tolentino’s victory in the POC election should also help lay to rest accusations of irregularities that have been thrown at the organizers of the SEA Games themselves, they added.
Tolentino came into the election bearing a heavy weight on his shoulders. He was, after all, head of the POC for only little more than a year after winning in a special election in July 2019.
His opponent, Clint Aranas, had also petitioned for his disqualification (along with four other officials from his party) on various grounds, including conflict of interest relating to SEA Games matters, lack of time to be eligible to run, and a suspended corporate license.
Aranas was one of the POC members pressing the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) to immediately submit its audited financial statements on the expenses for the country’s SEA Games hosting — even though he knew the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) finished remitting its financial assistance only on September 4, 2020 or almost 10 months after the event.
The election committee, chaired by Atty. Teodoro Kalaw IV, threw out Aranas’ petition.
With a convincing 30-22 win, Tolentino now has a full opportunity to turn the country’s sports program around and lead our athletes to greater heights, Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano said.
The two had worked together for the 30th SEA Games when Cayetano was the chair of PHISGOC, and he acknowledged Tolentino’s crucial role in the Philippines’ effort to regain the overall championship in the biennial sporting event.
“His reelection,” Cayetano said in a statement, “signifies the vote of confidence of the leaders of the national sport associations to a more progressive and responsive leader… We hope that the POC leadership will continue to inspire and provide our athletes with the support they need during competitions.”
As PHISGOC chair, Cayetano led the efforts to mount one of the biggest SEA Games in history, and its resounding success as an international event will long be remembered.