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Obiena’s welfare played huge role in POC decision vs Juico, bares Tolentino

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) put a premium on the welfare of pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena in accepting its Ethics Committee’s recommendation to declare athletics president Philip Ella Juico as persona non grata.

“If a president of a member NSA [national sports association] is not in one with the aim and purpose of the POC to protect and take care of the welfare of the athletes, then he or she does not deserve the recognition of POC … as simple as that,” the POC, through its president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, said on Monday.

“As far as the POC is concerned, the Ethics Committee acted within its inherent power which is to determine if the conduct of a member of POC, specifically the president of the PATAFA, is ethical, professional and acceptable to the organization which he belongs to,” the POC added.

PATAFA stands for Philippine Athletics Track and Field association, the NSA for athletics.

The Ethics Committee, Tolentino said, is a standing committee of POC as provided for in the bylaws whose sole purpose is about the conduct of its members.

“After the Ethics Committee found that Mr. Juico’s conduct is unethical, the [POC] Executive Board merely adopted its recommendation,” Tolentino said. “The Executive Board did not penalize the NSA, in fact, he was not removed, suspended, or reprimanded.”

Tolentino said it’s the POC’s prerogative to declare anybody a persona non grata—which means that the individual is an unacceptable person to the POC.

“Based on the complaint and evidence presented, his [Juico] conduct towards Obiena, who is a very promising athlete, is unethical and violative of the provisions of the bylaws of POC specifically on uplifting the level of performance of Filipino athletes,” Tolentino said.

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The POC’s legal team, Tolentino said, stressed that Juico didn’t answer the accusations against him, and “he is defending himself using jurisdictional issue.”

“The complaint of Obiena is not an intra-NSA dispute, but it’s all about the conduct of Mr. Juico as president of the PATAFA on the way he treated an athlete,” the POC said. “He [Juico] should actually be thankful that he was given the opportunity to clear his side but he opted not to and instead hide on the jurisdictional issue.

“Any organization cannot be forced to accept a person who is not acceptable to the organization. A persona non grata is a person not acceptable to POC.”

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