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POC upholds decision to declare Juico as persona non grata

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) ratified the executive board’s early decision against Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) President Philip Ella Juico, officially declaring him persona non grata during the first General Assembly of the year on Wednesday at the Grandmaster Hotel in Tagaytay City.

A total of 54 regular national sports associations (NSAs) attended the GA and then 36 voted yes including athletes’ commission member and Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz of weightlifting and swimmer Jessie Lacuna to Juico’s persona non grata tag.

They favored the executive board’s decision on the complaint filed by Olympic pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena against Juico for harassing a world-class Filipino athlete by making malicious public accusations against him last November.

Eleven NSAs were a “no vote,” meaning they didn’t sign the notion, while five NSAs led by weightlifting president Monico Puentevella, wushu, squash, athletics Juico, and hockey opposed the motion.

Three others—International Olympic Committee Representative to the Philippines Mikee Cojuangco Jaworski, dancesport, and netball—abstained.

“We are just following the procedure and there’s nothing personal here against Mr. Juico, and anytime EJ [Obiena] and Juico agreed or EJ withdraws his complaint, the GA can revisit the executive board’s decision,” POC President Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino told an online news conference after the GA.

Tolentino reiterated that Juico will stay as athletics president “for other matters but no longer recognized by the POC,” clarifying that PATAFA “could still function as NSA under the national Olympic committee.”

“He is still the PATAFA president for other matters without recognizing him, but they still have their vice president and secretary-general who can attend POC activities,” Tolentino said, noting that the GA doesn’t need a full majority vote since they are not suspending or ousting Juico as PATAFA president.

“We do not need a ¾ or 2/3 vote because we’re not ousting and suspending him as president. We are only declaring him as persona non grata but still, 36 is 2/3 votes of the POC,” he explained.

Diaz said she and Lacuna expressed the vote of the Athletes’ Commission.

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