The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) reaffirmed its commitment to fully support EJ Obiena as the Olympian faces expulsion from the national team.
POC President Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino said that the organization will be there to help the pole vault star should the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) push through in dropping him from the pool.
“Kung talagang ido-drop na siya sa national pool, mawawalan siya ng funding,” he told Radyo5’s Power and Play with Kom Noli Eala, Saturday.
“So ang magagawa ng POC, just what we declared, we will give full support to EJ.”
Obiena is facing banishment from the Philippine team per the recommendation of PATAFA’s fact-finding committee, which also suggests to file a criminal complaint of estafa over EUR 6,000 or Php 360,000 against him.
That amount is allotted for head coach Vitaly Petrov from May 2018 to August 2018, which the association claims weren’t liquidated.
Even the legendary Ukrainian mentor wasn’t spared from this big of a conflict. The investigative body recommended filing a complaint against him before the World Athletics for violation of the “Integrity Code of Conduct.”
The very same committee also advised that his engagement as PATAFA coach be terminated immediately, as he is among those whom the NSA wants ousted along with long-time supporter James Michael Lafferty.
Just a couple of days ago, though, PATAFA has deferred Obiena’s removal for two weeks following Malacañang’s call on both parties.
Tolentino himself admitted that the situation is truly saddening. But he reiterated the POC’s willingness to assist the second-generation star.
“Napakahirap po gumawa ng ganitong world-class athlete, ‘no. Baka another 15 to 20 years bago ka makagawa uli ng isang Obiena,” he said.
“Ang tanong lang, sino bang magba-bankroll kay EJ? Halimbawa, day one ngayon kung wala na siyang allowance or what, hanggang sa training, hanggang sa mga international competitions niya, sino ang magba-bankroll?
“Doon papasok ang POC,” added Tolentino, who’s also a Deputy Speaker. “Definitely, we will look for private funding for that.”
Tolentino had previously said that the POC will fight for Obiena’s right to wave the flag in international meets. And that won’t change despite PATAFA’s decision, as they also have the authority to endorse athletes.
The 58-year-old simply reminded that one of the by-laws written under Rule No. 27 of Chapter Four of the Olympic charter.
It states that “NOCs have the exclusive authority for the representation of their respective countries at the Olympic Games and at the regional, continental, and world multi-sport competitions patronized by the IOC.”
“‘Yun lang i-invoke namin,” said Tolentino, the 12th president of the POC. “Remember, kami ang nagpapadala ng list ng delegates. Yes, it is being proposed by NSAs, but kami ‘yung last say.
“Kami ‘yung nagpapadala.”