The doors of reconciliation between top Filipino pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association should be kept open.
Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez said this as the government sports agency is still waiting for both sides to get back to the negotiating table and thresh things out.
“We would like for them to reconcile. The PSC is (still) open to mediate despite the withdrawal of EJ Obiena,” said Ramirez during the Facebook Live discussion of the weekly program “People Conversation.”
The PSC chief made his thoughts known a day after PATAFA president Philip Ella Juico was officially declared persona non grata by the Philippine Olympic Committee General Assembly on the grounds of a complaint by Obiena, crying harassment from the athletics’ chief.
Ramirez believes that through mediation, Obiena and the PATAFA “will be able to address issues without judgement and and have a place where facts will speak.”
The pursuit for mediation continues two months after the PATAFA started questioning Obiena on his “questionable” liquidation papers.
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 the pole vaulter’s liquidation paperworks indicating he has paid his coach.
Obiena has already submitted his latest liquidation reports that are now being processed by the PSC accounting office and the Commission on Audit.
Obiena is currently preparing for an indoor meet in Germany this week.
He has backed out of the mediation process, saying that there was bad faith on Juico’s side, even though the PATAFA chief has already humbled himself and agreed to PSC mediation.