Trillanes, 'Peping' clash over PH's poor sports standing

By Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 07 2014 08:58 PM | Updated as of Feb 08 2014 07:21 AM

PSC, POC asked to explain PH's low standing in SEAG

MANILA -- Senate sports committee chair Sen. Edgardo “Sonny” Angara asked for a report from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to explain why the Philippines' ranking in the Southeast Asian games dropped from No. 1 in 2005 to 7th overall in the last 2013 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar.

Commissioner Jolly Gomez of the Philippine Sports Commission explained that many medal-rich sports for the Philippines like softball, fencing, fin swimming and tennis were taken out of the Games and replaced by traditional sports unknown to the Philippines.

He also cited the low budget of the PSC compared to other Southeast Asian countries which continue to increase funding for sports.

"You can see our budget is under a billion pesos a year, our major opponents, you can see Thailand has a budget of equivalent to P16 billion a year, Singapore, a population of 4 million has P6.5 billion," said Gomez.

Gomez admitted there are many challenges facing Philippine sports.

Aside from funding, there is a need for an integrated sports program from the grassroots to elite level. He added that facilities also need a major upgrade.

But for Sen. Antonio Trillanes, the problem is in the leadership of sports.

Specifically, he criticized Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Jose “Peping” Cojuangco as the reason for the downfall of Philippine Sports.

"Mr. Chairman, how Mr. Peping Cojuangco messed up the whole NSA [National Sports Association] program. He played politics, 'yung mga napili n'ya of course, most of them are crooks. Namaster niya ang pagturo, 'hindi s'ya ang may kasalanan, pero 'yung pera, 'yung pondo, kailangan sa kanya," said Trillanes.

Cojuangco was unable to attend the hearing but he was defended by POC chairman Tom Carrasco and Executive Director Cynthia Carreon.

"I'm not a lackey of Mr. Cojuangco, but I feel he's doing a good job, and the whole reason we're going down is because other countries are getting more money and we're not getting any support," said Carreon.

Trillanes and Angara also questioned why the Philppines did not send a dragon boat team to the SEA games.

"We are world champions and how can we not even win, we already won?" said Angara.

"We won in the small boats in the world championships, not the big boat... there are disciplines, there are different disciplines, like gymnastics, we have 5 disciplines," replied Carreon.

In a text message to ABS-CBN, Cojuangco responded to Sen. Trillanes' tirades, saying the senator has not given any help to sports from his pork barrel. He also questioned what he has done as a senator to help the country.

"What has he done for sport? Has he even given any of his pork barrel to sport? I know he has given the presidency of Basketball Association of the Philippines by Aliean Graham Lim, who was involved in human smuggling and finally deported out of the country," texted Cojuangco.

Trillanes has filed a bill for the creation of a sports department.