TARLAC Rep. Charlie Cojuangco is backing Negros Oriental Football Association president Ricardo “Ricky” Yanson Jr., who is running for the presidency of the Philippine Football Federation on Nov. 29 against incumbent Mariano “Nonong” Araneta.
Cojuangco, youngest son of business tycoon Danding Cojuangco Jr., said Araneta, who has been at the helm of the PFF in December 2010, had once “stabbed” him in the back and is doing it again on Yanson, who has slammed Araneta for ignoring grassroots development in the sport.
“I find it disturbing that what he did to me so many years ago, he did it again to another person. That is back-stabbing,” Cojuangco said in a media briefing.
Cojuangco revealed that he was a victim of betrayal and political flip-flopping by Araneta when the latter asked that they run the PFF together.
“During the time I was also running for PFF president, I had a similar arrangement with Nonong Araneta,” Cojuangco said. “He asked me to give way to him as I planned to run for PFF president. So I was surprised that, after three days, I heard that he had thrown his support behind Mari Martinez, may he rest in peace. We all know what happened to PFF during Mari Martinez’s tenure, and you have Araneta to thank for that.”
Yanson said that Araneta initially proposed a political partnership last September, then announced his own candidacy in October. Araneta has claimed that Yanson prematurely announced that they were running mates.
Martinez’s presidency was marred by controversy, including complaints by the Azkals that they are not receiving financial support from the federation. In December of 2010, Martinez was replaced by Araneta as PFF president.
“So it’s now an issue of character,” Cojuangco said. “I didn’t say anything before because it’s in the past and I had forgiven him and moved on. But the fact that he did it again makes me question his character.”
Cojuangco also called out Araneta for disappearing as apologies were flying for the embarrassing problems besetting the on-going football competition in the Southeast Asian Games. Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee head and Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and PFF general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes instead faced the foreign delegations to make amends.
“You are the president of Philippine football. You are the host. You should have made sure everything was ok for football. And when everything exploded, why send an underling to apologize?” Cojuangco asked. “Are you only there front and center when everything is okay?”
Cojuango said grassroots development in the sport has suffered during Araneta’s nine-year stint as football president, adding the programs Araneta is now promising should have been initiated back in 2010.
“The national team is not the only football the PFF should be involved in. And using foreign-born athletes are just a temporary solution. ” Cojuangco said.