Why MVP did not oppose Peping
By Al S. Mendoza
I knew it.
Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP), the tycoon from Pampanga, would not run as president of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
Long before calls for MVP to challenge Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. were aired, I kept telling friends that MVP wouldn’t relent.
Not that the position is too small for him. The POC top post is one of the most prestigious jobs in the country, it being the most sought-after portfolio in the sporting world.
You are the POC president, you occupy a special seat in the International Olympic Committee (IOC), a virtual government in itself in the global order.
You are the POC president, you have a reserved seat at the VIP section of every Olympic Games.
You are the POC president, you command the operations of all sporting matters in the country.
And, yes, you are the POC president, even the President of the republic cannot dictate on you because you are virtually a government by yourself: Untouchable.
History’s wrath comes to mind.
When Diosdado Macapagal was our president, he banned the entry of a communist country (it was Yugoslavia then, I believe) to play in a basketball tournament in the Philippines.
Because that country was a member of the IOC, we were punished by the Olympic movement led by the IOC: They banned us from competitions overseas indefinitely.
Only when apologies and representations on the world level did the IOC lift the ban on us.
Just recently, the World Basketball Federation (FIBA) suspended the Philippines for its squabbles on basketball leadership, forcing us out of the SEA Games.
Only through the intercession and continuous appeals of MVP did we finally regain our status of good standing.
I was in Seoul, South Korea, to cover the historic reconciliatory meeting in 2006 among our local basketball officials backstopped by Cojuangco.
Months after that meeting, we were readmitted into the FIBA and got our slot back in the SEA Games.
Cries were ear-splitting for MVP to oppose Cojuangco, who was being blamed for our zero-medal setbacks in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.
MVP-backers said hopes are high for a sporting renaissance should MVP replace Cojuangco.
But in the end, MVP did not relent.
Yes, by being the main man of several of our country’s top corporations to include PLDT, Meralco and NLEx, besides being president of basketball and chairman of amateur boxing, MVP’s job and numerous business responsibilities are up to his neck.
Besides, fighting Peping, P-Noy’s first-degree uncle, could cost MVP a lot if Peping lost, if you know what I mean.
Thus, MVP’s not-to-run stand was more of a business decision than anything.
Always, blood is thicker than water.