Is there still a chance for Philippine Sports Commissioner Ramon Fernandez and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Peping Cojuangco to bury the hatchet and finally work on the same page with the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, to be hosted by the country, just around the corner?
Somebody has to initiate and extend the hands of reconciliation but it looks like Fernandez is not inclined to make the first move.
“Hindi naman ako ang nagsimula nito e. Mauna lang siyang lumapit (for talks) at pag-usapan ang kapakanan ng atleta,” said Fernandez, when asked about the possibility of a kiss-and-make-up with the long-time POC chief, during the PSC-POC Media Sports Chat on Wednesday.
Fernandez said he’s just so passionate about his crusade against corruption in Philippine sports and there’s nothing personal in his differences with Cojuangco.
“Sakin naman e para lang sa mga atleta ang mga ginagawa ko because dati rin akong naging national athlete,” said the former national cager who later became famous as the “El Presidente” in the professional Philippine Basketball Association.
Fernandez has been at odds with Cojuangco, who earlier questioned the capability of the former player for Toyota and San Miguel in the PBA. The POC top official also branded Fernandez as game-fixer during his prime in the pro-league.
Fernandez retaliated by investigating Cojuangco’s alleged corruption, including the unliquidated millions of pesos that was used by the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Philsoc) for the country’s hosting of the 2005 SEA Games. Cojuangco and other POC officials operated Philsoc during the hosting.
On Wednesday, Fernandez obliged to a rare breakfast meeting with Philippine Karate Federation (PKF) president Joey Romasanta, a known close ally of Cojuangco, on the invitation of PKF secretary-general Raymund Lee Reyes.
“It was just a light discussion. Parang getting-to-know each other. Nalaman ko doon na si Joey pala is head of the committee on membership ng POC and also the solidarity committee na nag handle ng Olympic scholarship for athletes,” added Fernandez.
The POC recently endorsed to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) 10 Filipino athletes for scholarship in Olympic solidarity programs.
“It’s good that they are doing it. Basta para sa mga athletes. Full support tayo jan.”