MANILA, December 17, 2004 
(STAR) By Abac Cordero - The choice for the next chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), according to a very reliable source, is indeed down to two persons.

And as earlier reported, one of them is Jun Jun Capistrano, a soft-spoken academician who has assumed sensitive positions both in the government and sports sectors.

The other candidate is Butch Ramirez, a true sportsman from Davao and currently one of four commissioners in the PSC, the government sports agency.

Their names, the source said, are the only ones still being considered by the Malacañang search committee after a thorough review of the original list of applicants or candidates.

Capistrano, athletics director of Ateneo, served as tourism general manager under the Aquino administration and secretary-general of the 1991 Manila SEA Games Organizing Committee (Mansoc).

Ramirez, like Capistrano, has an excellent academic background. He was appointed to the PSC by former President Joseph Estrada and has quietly and effectively stayed on under President Arroyo.

The PSC executive was recently asked by the Palace for his updated resumé.

Naming either of the two as next PSC chief, the source said, will be a good decision.

Whoever gets appointed by the President takes over the hot seat to be vacated by Eric Buhain who was named the new Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman in lieu of the outgoing Eduardo Villanueva.

Buhain, who rose to fame when he won six gold medals as a swimmer during the 1991 Manila SEA Games, was told by the President to stay on at the PSC until a replacement is named.

Other names that have cropped up even before Buhain formally announced his transfer to the GAP the other day were those of Ali Atienza, Celso Dayrit and Philip Juico.

Atienza is the youngest among all candidates. The son of Manila Mayor Lito Atienza is only 32 but is no neophyte when it comes to planning and staging mass-based sports development programs which are key components of the PSC.

Dayrit also worked as PSC commissioner under former President Fidel V. Ramos then became president of the national fencing association and eventually the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).

Dayrit, however, did not seek a second term as POC head, giving way to equestrian chief Jose "Peping" Cojuangco who will take his oath as POC president next month. Dayrit is currently president of the 2005 Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (Philsoc).

Juico, the former agrarian reforms secretary who also became PSC chairman under FVR, has written a book detailing Philippine sports and could use that knowledge if and when given a second chance.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved