EJ Obiena has announced with deep regret that he will no longer partake in the mediation process organized by the Philippine Sports Commission and with the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association.
The 26-year-old pole vaulter out of Tondo cited that PATAFA and its president Philip Juico have participated in the mediation process in “bad faith.” This has prompted his withdrawal.
“It is with great regret that I am forced to officially withdraw from the PSC offer of mediation due to the bad faith of Mr. Juico and PATAFA.”
Early this month, the PSC has called on the help of the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc. – led by President Atty. Edmundo Tan and Executive Director Arleo Magtibay Jr. – in helping settle the ongoing row between Obiena and PATAFA.
Obiena has been alleged by the country’s athletics association in failing to liquidate the salary of his head coach Vitaly Petrov over the last few years.
The Olympian out of University of Santo Tomas admitted numerous times that he had lapses.
“I am terrible at a job I never wanted—As an accountant and payroll manager. This is my mistake and have admitted to it from the very start. I’m a Pole Vaulter not a financial manager.
“This is not a question of integrity as Mr. Juico claims it to be, ‘It’s a simple case of liquidation’, as said by Chairman Ramirez in his memo dated January 5, 2022; and as of January 21, 2022 all my pending liquidation with the PSC is done. It’s closed,” read the statement of Obiena.
“It is a recipe for failure to enter into mediation with one party is in BAD FAITH; PATAFA was in bad faith this whole time as they signed the mediation with their true intention to still pursue the filing of a baseless criminal case of ESTAFA against me. PATAFA has said they want a peaceful resolution, but their actions prove this as a LIE. You cannot have peace while pointing a gun at the other guys’s head, and say, ‘Let’s have a peaceful resolution’. This is the exact opposite of good faith mediation,” it continued.
“They have been telling the public that Sergey Bubka voluntarily executed his affidavit. They omitted the fact that it was Mr. Juico who prepared the affidavit of Sergey Bubka, instructed him to get it apostilled, paid all associated costs, and cajoled him to sign. They tried the same thing with my coach, Vitaliy Petrov. Using this, they have been manipulating the people into believing their statements that I have not been paying my coach. We have always called this a witch hunt. And clearly, it is,” he alleged.
For Obiena, PATAFA has weaponized the gag order set to both camps to silence him.
This as Obiena cannot talk about him his ousting from the national team, the embezzlement case of his mom Jeanette, the banishment of former PATAFA booster Jim Lafferty, nor the termination of his head coach Petrov.
“I thank PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez for his hard work as a peacemaker,” he expressed. “I believe in mediation as a tool for peace and have full trust and confidence in the integrity of Chairman Butch Ramirez.
“Unfortunately, it seems that PATAFA is only using mediation as means to silence me and to keep the truth hidden. They always trumpet that I should go to mediation if I have nothing to hide. I have nothing to hide and that is the reason why I do not want to go to confidential mediation. Darkness is the home of the oppressor,” he continued.
“I want the truth out in public, the same public where I was judged as guilty without due process by Mr. Juico.”
Obiena continued to stress that this will not make him seek naturalization in other countries. Instead, he vowed that he jumps not for PATAFA but for the country.
“I cannot let these lies be cemented as truths. These very lies are what will push our World-Class Filipino Athletes away. What do World-Class Filipino Athlete have to lose if they are pushed away from their own nation by their own NSA?” he wondered.
“I have lost faith in my NSA president but I have not lost faith in our country and our country’s true sport leaders. I trust that they will set aside politics and do what is RIGHT and good for the country. If all else fail then my NSA would have succeeded in pushing me out of the country. I would be forced to step away from Philippine Athletics,” he continued.
“I do not jump for Mr. Philip Ella Juico or the PATAFA. I jump for my beloved country, PHILIPPINES.”