Archery chief Atty. Clint Aranas was a bit surprised when he learned that incumbent Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino named Richard Gomez last Tuesday as part of his ticket when he seeks reelection in the POC polls set November 27.
“I was surprised because I consider Goma (Gomez’s popular nickname) a good friend and you can quote me on that,” said Aranas Wednesday of the former national athlete, who leads both the fencing and modern pentathlon sports associations.
Tolentino announced at the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum that Gomez, who is also the Ormoc City mayor, would be his second vice president while Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio would be the first vice president, as members of his slate in seeking a full four-year term as head of the local Olympic body.
The Tagaytay congressman beat athletics chief Philip Ella Juico 24-20 on July 28, 2019, for the POC top post following the resignation of boxing head Ricky Vargas, who cited business and personal reasons for stepping down.
Aranas, who was the former president and chief executive officer of the Government Surety and Insurance System, revealed three sports officials on his ticket whom he described as “tried and proven sports leaders.”
He said they were present POC chairman Steve Hontiveros, who will also run for reelection, Juico and rugby secretary general Ada Milby would be running as first vice president and second vice president, respectively, under his banner.
“Hontiveros is a notable sports icon. He has the experience and has never been involved in any scandal,” Aranas said.
Hontiveros is presently the head of the Philippine Handball Federation and ex-presidents of the World Bowling and Philippine Bowling Congress, now known as the Philippine Bowling Federation.
The veteran sports official, who also served as POC secretary general under former POC honcho Jose Cojuangco Jr., is widely known in the global sporting community and is looked up to within the Southeast Asian Games Federation Council.
“Juico is our first vice president. Why? He was formerly the Philippine Sports Commission chairman. He knows both the operations of both private and government. Look at the last SEA Games and his sport had one of the biggest hauls for the country,” Aranas said.
Filipino track and field bets were a major factor in the Philippines regaining the overall crown in the 30th edition of the regional sports showcase last December, delivering 11 golds, eight silvers and eight bronze medals, accounting for the second-biggest output for the national team behind arnis (14-4-2).
“These results speak about his (Juico’s) accomplishment as a leader. He is a person who delivers and is a good organizer,” Aranas said of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association president.
The country’s first Olympic qualifier, pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena, to the Tokyo Olympic Games was achieved under Juico’s watch, Aranas stressed.
The corporate and tax lawyer said that, while Milby was running as an independent candidate, “our group decided to adopt her into our ticket because we share the same values of transparency and accountability. She is a very independent and outspoken woman. She speaks her mind and is not easily swayed.
“We have the same vision so we are taking her in. She is a good ambassador for sports.”
Aside from being the secretary general of the Philippine Rugby Football Union, Milby a is member of the World Rugby Council, the global governing body for the sport, and is the lone woman on the Asia Rugby Executive Committee composed of five members.
A former staff sergeant in the US military, she was also cited by the widely-circulated World Rugby magazine last June among “The 50 Most Influential People in Rugby 2020.”