The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association will continue holding their athletes accountable.
PATAFA president Philip Ella Juico said this after the Philippine Olympic Committee general assembly upheld the executive board’s decision against him and officially declared him persona non grata on Wednesday.
“I may now be persona non grata in the eyes of the POC, but this will not distract us in our quest for truth, accountability, transparency, and justice in our federation. If this is the price I have to pay for holding my athlete accountable, so be it. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I will step out of the POC with my head held high,” Juico said after the meeting at the Grandmaster Hotel in Tagaytay City.
The final decision of the general assembly comes two months after the PATAFA started questioning top pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena regarding his alleged nonpayment of his coach Vitaly Petrov.
Questions were raised by the PATAFA after it received an affidavit from top World Athletics official Sergey Bubka and a written statement from Obiena’s coach Vitaly Petrov that he “did not receive any monthly coach’s fees for the years 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021,” which contradicted Obiena’s liquidation paperworks indicating he has paid his coach.
Last month, the POC executive board recommended the withdrawal of the POC’s recognition of Juico as president of the PATAFA after they looked into the recommendations and findings of its Ethics Commission as a result of a letter of complaint filed by Obiena.
The Ethics Commission forwarded its findings to the executive board after it looked into Obiena’s complaint of harassment against Juico when the pole vaulter got into trouble over questions raised by the PATAFA on his liquidation paperworks concerning Petrov’s 85,000 euro funding allocation.Juico said he was not granted any due process during the Tagaytay meeting.
“The process was railroaded. Again, there was no due process because there was no division of the house. Instead, the POC claimed that a pre-circulated resolution was signed by 36 POC members who affixed their signatures without any resolution having presented during the General Assembly for voting, and neither I nor several others POC members received this resolution as the same resolution to be voted on during the General Assembly,” stated Juico.
A total of 54 regular national sports associations attended the GA, with 36 voting yes to Juico’s persona non grata status, including athletes’ commission member and Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz of weightlifting and swimmer Jessie Lacuna.
POC chief Abraham Tolentino said the body can still change its decision, once Juico/PATAFA and the Obiena come to terms.