What’s the point?
THE GAME OF MY LIFE - Bill Velasco (The Philippine Star) - January 20, 2018 - 12:00am

File a case. Get a decision. Decision is appealed. Get another decision. Second decision gets appealed. In the meantime, time runs out on what needs urgent action. That is the blessing and curse of democracy. That is what is going to happen with the Philippine Olympic Committee. There are so many ways to maintain the status quo. To paraphrase an old saying, it’s hard to get someone to change things, when his survival depends on things staying the same.

In an interview on this writer’s sports talk show “Hardball” Monday evening, former POC president Cristy Ramos-Jalasco brought up some very important points regarding the disqualification of NSA heads Ricky Vargas and Bambol Tolentino from the 2016 POC elections, which prompted them to seek redress through the courts. Jalasco said that the issue is moot, because of the higher powers involved.

“The IOC (International Olympic Committee) already accepted the results of the POC elections as valid,” Ramos pointed out. “And it is really an internal matter, so it will be difficult for the government to get involved.”

Ramos also noted that there are guidelines in the POC by-laws that determine whether or not one can run for a seat on the board. These are details every candidate should know.

“There are qualifications, a checklist, to see if one is qualified to run for the POC Board,” said Ramos, who was unceremoniously removed from her position by a politically motivated no-confidence vote after the term of her father, former president Fidel Ramos, ran out. “These are things that you’re supposed to know earlier. That will tell you if you should run or not.”

All incumbent Peping Cojuangco has to do is delay the process until the next POC election comes around in 2020. Elections are held every four years, after the Olympic Games. It took Vargas and company more than a year to get the Pasig Regional Trial Court to render a first decision on the matter.

In the meantime, this process could also negatively impact the country’s hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. The POC president is the de facto president of the SEA Games Federation. If the position is in question, then who will the government refer to in making decisions on all the myriad aspects of the Games? This writer has repeatedly and lengthily discussed how much still needs to be done, and is alarmed at how much actually still has to be done. The country has only a year and a half to prepare. Some quarters are already suggesting just to stage the minimum number of events at a spartan, bare-bones cost, just to get it over with. The alternative is to back out, which would be embarrassing, to say the least.

So in short, regardless of the legal maneuvering of the opposition, regardless of the clamor of athletes, regardless of the pronouncements of the PSC, regardless of the investigations into their allegedly stealing money from national athletes, it is unlikely that things will change between now and 2019 or maybe even 2020. What is the point, then? The only allegory, ironically, comes from sports: no matter the odds, you are duty-bound to battle, clinging to the wisp of smoke called hope, that your efforts will make a difference, and spur change.

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