MANILA, Philippines – Business tycoon and sports patron Manny V. Pangilinan said Wednesday he will not run for president of the Philippine Olympic Committee.
In a lengthy statement sent to the media early today, Pangilinan said he is declining to run as the country’s Olympic chief because "now is not the right time for me to join POC in an exec capacity."
“After long reflection and considerable thought, and taking into account the many complex – and challenging – factors in the assessment, especially the demands of my time which such position entails, with a heavy heart, I have concluded that now is not the right time for me to join the POC in an executive capacity,” the statement read.
The news comes as a heartbreaker to those backing Pangilinan to challenge incumbent POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, who is seeking reelection. Earlier reports said Pangilinan already enjoys the support of majority of National Sports Association (NSA) leaders, enough for him to be elected as Olympic chief.
In the same statement, Pangilinan apologized to his supporters and vowed to continue backing Philippine sports through the MVP Sports Foundation.
“I know I will disappoint many of you with this decision and for this I am really sorry. I must say, however, that I am not turning my back at all on Philippine sports, that I remain committed to supporting it, that our MVP Sports Foundation will continue extending time and resources to its orderly development, that our Group stands ready to help the Filipino athletes in whatever manner we can. I ask for your kind understanding,” the statement continued.
“I am truly grateful to all those who expressed their support for my candidacy to the POC. Much appreciated,” it added.
Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines president Ricky Vargas, a close associate of Pangilinan, confirmed the statement as legitimate.
“That’s true,” Vargas said.
Pangilinan is widely recognized as one of the country’s biggest sports patrons, having supported basketball, boxing, football and other sports. Currently the owner of the Talk n’ Text team in the PBA, he has likewise bankrolled the basketball programs of Ateneo in the UAAP and San Beda in the NCAA.
The businessman, however, has recently severed ties with Ateneo because of conflicting stands on mining, one of the many industries Pangilinan is actively involved in. – With report from Abac Cordero