Press Release
January 26, 2010

Respect one another, Loren tells sports officials

Sen. Loren Legarda yesterday called on leaders of both the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission to stop squabling to avoid being suspended again by the International Olympic Committee from participating in world olympic games.

Loren was reacting to the statements attributed to Francisco Elizalde, the IOC representative to the Philippines, who said that the world's highest governing body in sports has already heard about the fear of PSC intervention on POC affairs.

Loren, who is running for vice president in the May elections, said it's about time that the leaders should start respecting one another in the interest of the athletes, in particular, and PHILIPPINE sports in general.

During last Friday's SCOOP Sa Kamayan weekly session, Elizalde made the remarks and pointed to the leaders' lack of respect for one another as the main problem that contributed to the prevailing sad state of Philippine sports.

Elizalde pointed out that the problem confronting the RP sports involves personalities and political affiliations of the sports leaders. "This is the reason why our leaders don't respect each other. The president of the POC (Jose "Peping" Cojuangco) belongs to the political opposition, while the chairman of the PSC (Harry Angping) is an administration man." Loren agreed, saying that the PSC may have the tendency to intervene in running the affairs of the POC and the national sports associations, and this may endanger the relation between the POC and the IOC.

The IOC has always been critical about government intervention its affairs and a violation of its charter could give enough reason to sanction the erring country by meting penalties like suspension or outright ban from participation in all IOC activities such as the Olympics and Asian Games. "It's good that Mr. Elizalde admitted that there had been no attempt yet on the part of the PSC to intervene for the IOC to impose sanction on the country. But shall we wait for that to happen? Paano kung masuspende tayo muli? Kawawa ay ang atleta natin at bayan na rin," Loren said. Like Elizalde, Loren lamented what happened in last year's 25th Southeast Asian Games in Laos where the Philippines was virtually represented by two delegations - one authorized by the PSC and the other by the POC - causing so much embarrassment for the country in the international sporting community. The IOC has already suspended Kuwait because of government intervention.

Elizalde warned that the current situation here has already reached the IOC headquarters in Laussane, Switzerland based the reactions he has been getting from fellow IOC members who warned him about the situation turning into worse that may force the IOC to intervene and sanction RP.

"I believe Mr. Elizalde, THAT the IOC, indeed, has been watching us so we have to be careful and we can only do that if our leaders will stop quarreling, put their acts together and, most importantly, respect one another," Loren stressed.

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