RP sports still waits for First Gent’s help

 The repeated calls for First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo to return as the country’s premier fund-raiser for sports has remained unanswered, leaving preparations for the Doha Asian Games at a standstill with just nine months left.

 Philippine Olympic Committee first vice president Rep. Monico Puentevella yesterday said that the First Gentleman has yet to reply to a formal POC letter requesting his return as chief of mission for the December Asiad, as well as reassuming his role as chief fund-raiser.

 “We are still trying to convince him,” Puentevella .

 The First Gentleman announced last month his decision to leave RP sports due to numerous criticisms, including his presence during the Manny Pacquiao fight in January and the Hong Kong trip by some 200 national athletes last year.

Puentevella, considered the strongest link of the POC to Malacaņang, conveyed the POC’s invitation for Arroyo to be the Asian Games chief of mission and reprise his role during the 23rd Southeast Asian Games last December.

Meanwhile, Philippine Sports Commission chair William “Butch” Ramirez yesterday acknowledged the help they used to enjoy from Arroyo, who had raised funds for the past two SEA Games, including the all-time high of P160 million for athletes’ training last year.

“Everything depends on the help we could get from the First Gentleman,” said Ramirez, who is set to meet with Chinese Sports Minister Liu Peng in August to renew sports ties between the two countries.