MANILA, Philippines - Richie Garcia, who’s had an on-and-off stint as commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission, will replace Harry Angping as chairman of the government sports agency.
The sportsman from Bacolod last night confirmed his appointment as the new PSC chief, a day after Malacañang said President Aquino had made the much-awaited choice.
“To unify the Philippine Olympic Committee and the PSC is the first step,” said Garcia, a champion golfer, referring to the differences in policies between the two sports bodies.
“It’s time to look forward. What happened the past year should never happen again. It’s time for the PSC and the POC to work together. One cannot be without the other,” he said.
Garcia said POC president Jose Cojuangco Jr., uncle of President Aquino, confirmed the appointments, including that of the commissioners, after getting hold of the papers from Malacañang.
To serve as commissioners are former tennis chief Buddy Andrada, baseball official and former basketball star Chito Loyzaga, Little League Philippines administrator Jolly Gomez, and champion swimmer Akiko Thomson who was asked to stay.
Dina Bernardo of dragon boat has been designated as PSC executive director.
Angping was appointed PSC chairman by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in February last year, and had Jose Mundo, Erik Loretizo, Fr. Vic Uy and Thomson as his commissioners.
“Richie Garcia has been there before. He knows what to do. I welcome the appointments,” said Angping.
“They have to start working right away, and now it’s up to the new PSC board,” said Cojuangco, who batted for a set of PSC officials who can work hand in hand with the POC.
The 15th Asian Games in Guangzhou is just five months away, and the entry of Garcia, a close ally of Cojuangco, will ensure a harmonious relationship between the POC and the PSC.
Garcia was first appointed as PSC commissioner by then President Joseph Estrada in 1998 then resigned after Arroyo took over in 2000. But his resignation was only accepted a year after.
In 2003, however, Arroyo reinstated Garcia as commissioner but the gray-haired sportsman had to resign once more after the 2008 POC elections. Now he’s back, not as commissioner, but as chairman.
“But I feel more comfortable being called a commissioner. Who would have ever thought that I’d be back in the PSC. Bilog talaga ang bola,” he told The STAR last night.
Abac Cordero, Philippine Star