JOSE “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. has been president of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) since January 2005. He is the uncle of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, and the father of Mikaela “Mikee” Cojuangco-Jaworski, currently the lone Filipino representative to the International Olympic Committee – the governing body of the quadrennial Summer and Winter Olympics.
From a good start with the country topping the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) as host nation in 2005, Cojuangco’s stint as POC chief has since been marked by the poor showing of Philippine teams in international and regional competitions. From 2007 onward, our overall standing in the SEA Games deteriorated to fifth and sixth places, even plunging at one point to seventh place out of 11 participating countries.
Despite these debacles, Cojuangco managed to defeat his opponents in the highly politicized sports arena. He served his second and third terms starting 2009 and 2013, respectively.
During the Nov. 2016 POC elections, he won an unprecedented fourth term unopposed. This after getting his main rival, Ricky Vargas of the boxing association, disqualified due to a technicality.
But Vargas contested the results at the Pasig Regional Trial Court, which recently upheld his motion allowing him to run in a new election after nullifying the previous one. Today is the showdown between Cojuangco and Vargas involving the votes of 43 national sports associations (NSAs) under POC.
This time, the Vargas camp claims to have the support of 27 NSAs. Will Cojuangco finally be unseated after 13 years of decline in Philippine sports under his watch?