Tagaytay Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino promised to do more for Philippine sports after getting a fresh mandate from his Philippine Olympic Committee peers.
The 56-year-old Tolentino was reelected POC president on Friday during the regular of elections of the Olympic body at the East Ocean Palace Restaurant, Aseana Complex in Parañaque.
The president of the national association for cycling (PhilCyling) received 30 votes following a turnout of 53 out 54 eligible voters.
“In more than one year, we have done a lot. What about four years with this team? Definitely, there will be a lot of surprises. My mission is to serve the athletes and the country. This is a full (4)-year term,” said Tolentino.
Tolentino’s rival for the presidency, archery chief Clint Aranas got 22 votes.
As soon as 43 votes were counted, with a majority of 27 going to Tolentino, Aranas rose from his corner table to shake Tolentino’s hand and offer him his congratulations.
“It was a good fight. This is democracy and the electorate has spoken. We appreciate everybody, who participated,” said Aranas.
Tolentino believes that many things can be done for national athletes and Philippines when he assumes his term by Jan. 1.
After Ricky Vargas quit in June, 2019, Tolentino was elected the POC’s 12th president in September last year, assuming the remaining months of the boxing chief’s term.
The congressman of the eighth district of Cavite still got the majority after representatives from table tennis did not show up to vote. There were also two who abstained during the secret balloting that was done with strict observance of health and safety protocols.
Officials from the Philippine Badminton Association were the last to cast a ballot through secretary general Chris Quimpo, after hours of talks with ex-Philippine vice president Jejomar Binay, who arrived and observed the proceedings.
POC officials and the election body, headed by lawyer Teodoro Kalaw IV, noted that there are still unresolved leadership issues in the PBA.
Ex-Negros Occidental congressman Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, who did not show up, is said to be the duly elected president of the PBA, but remains unconfirmed because their NSA election was held without a POC observer last year.
On the other hand, Binay was elected back in 2017.
Handball’s Steve Hontiveros stays on a chairman, beating triathlon’s Tom Carrasco, 28-25.
Two key officials in Tolentino’s ticket also got the nod during the polls.
The first was Al Panlilio, the president of Smart Communications and Chief Revenue Officer of PLDT, getting the post of first vice president. With a vote of 33 to 23, Panlilio eased out aspirant Philip Ella Juico of athletics.
This was followed by Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez, the president of the fencing and modern pentathlon federations, as he took the position of second vice president, with 31 votes against the 22 of opponent Ada Milby (rugby).
Gymnastics’ chief Cynthia Carrion was voted treasurer, while baseball’s Chito Loyzaga was elected the new auditor.
Assuming positions in the board as directors are surfing’s Dr. Raul Canlas, muay’s Pearl Managuelod, Robert Bachmann of squash and Atty. Charlie Ho of netball.
There were 54 voters in the POC elections, namely 51 national sports associations, International Olympic Committee representative Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski and Athletes’ Commission representatives, weighlifter Hidilyn Diaz and swimmer Jhessie Lacuna.
In a statement, Vargas congratulated the winners of the elections, adding “It is high time we had a dynamic and united Board that can chart a positive direction for Philippine sports, institute necessary reforms and focus more on our athletes.”
“President Bambol put together a Dream Team that shares the same values of leadership, transparency and excellence. I have no doubt this will be the refresh that Philippine sports badly needs. Reform is no longer just a pipe dream, it is reality within reach. Godspeed, Mabuhay and all the best to all,” said Vargas.
Tolentino said that while he was serving the remaining months of his time as POC chief, he was able to work with other sports leaders in making the 30th Southeast Asian Games a resounding success. He also sought the needed assistance for national athletes and coaches in their time of need during the pandemic.
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