The Philippine Sports Commission, through its chairman Butch Ramirez, lamented the “ugly turn of events” that has transpired between the Philippine Athletic Track and Field Association and EJ Obiena.
Reaching a boiling point on the fourth day of the new year, PATAFA kicked Obiena out of the national team.
In addition, both EJ and his mom Jeanette are being sued for embezzlement; head coach Vitaly Petrov has been challenged in the global athletics body; and NSA booster Jim Lafferty has been declared a persona non-grata.
And all this over a “simple” liquidation request.
“When the POC declared their involvement, we hoped they would bridge the gap between EJ and PATAFA, both being under their authority,” said Ramirez. “However, the issue became more muddled with the declaration of Juico as persona non grata and now calling on us to intervene on the PATAFA’s removal of EJ from the national team.
“This is a simple case of liquidation.”
Though the mediation between the PSC, PATAFA, and Obiena’s camp never materialized, the government agency is laying down four-prong demands to both parties.
First is for Obiena to immediately finish his liquidation reports. It is the only way the PSC can fully fund his training abroad.
Secondly, the PSC demands PATAFA to reconsider their declaration of dropping EJ from their rolls, provide him an appeal mechanism, and not execute their decision immediately. Obiena is currently ranked as the world no. 6 in pole vaulting.
The PSC also wants the POC to bridge the two parties as the mother organization of both and reconsider their decision of declaring Juico persona non-grata on the premise of promoting peace in elite sports. The ethics committee of the POC, headed by rowing’s Pato Gregorio, earlier declared Juico as an unacceptable person while still recognizing PATAFA.
Finally, all three parties, along with the entire ecosystem, are demanded to stop lighting the fire in the ongoing saga. “You have all publicly recognized the PSC and asked us to help resolve the issue, please listen to us on this simple request. Stop issuing public statements and come to the table with us to discuss this matter,” said Ramirez.
Ramirez urges everyone to promote and practice the values of the Olympic charter which is to “create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles. The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”
The PSC is set to talk to all parties involved and relay all the information gathered to the Office of the President on Wednesday.