By Joaquin Henson
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) chairman Monico Puentevella said yesterday he will not vote in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) elections in Qatar on Jan. 6 because the right is reserved for Philippine Football Federation (PFF) president Mariano Araneta Jr.
Puentevella and PFF secretary-general Chito Manuel will attend the AFC Congress with Araneta as members of the official Philippine delegation.
AFC president Mohamed Bin Hamman earlier questioned Puentevella’s designation as the country’s only delegate to the Congress. Hamman’s presumption is that since Puentevella is the only delegate, he will vote for the PFF in the elections.
Puentevella clarified that in the PFF registration form submitted to the AFC, it was clearly marked that Araneta would cast the Philippine vote.
“My role is merely to legitimize the position and election of Araneta just in case questions are raised in Qatar,” said Puentevella. “It’s the same role I played in the SBP case. The POC Board, in particular president Peping (Cojuangco), mandated me to look into both cases. It was the same job.”
Puentevella attended the Nov. 27 PFF National Congress where Araneta was elected to serve as president until Nov. 26, 2011, or the unexpired term of Jose Mari Martinez. “I witnessed the proceedings,” said Puentevella. “I saw 26 voters go against Martinez in his face. The motion to remove Martinez was in order. I really don’t understand why Martinez is insisting on staying as president.”
Puentevella said Hammam’s intervention to rescue Martinez is something he also can’t understand.
“Hammam is running unopposed so as far as the AFC presidency is concerned, the election is over,” said Puentevella. “I don’t know why he’s singling out the Philippines. We’re just a small country trying to develop football. Maybe, it’s because he is assured of Martinez’ vote with regard to the other positions.
For instance, I was informed that Hammam is supporting a South Korean for vice president against a candidate from Jordan. Hammam and I are good friends. No matter what happens, I will always be his friend and I respect him for what he is. His secretary Jenny recently tried to contact me but Hamman never got through.”
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