The decision to sanction Olympic pole vaulter EJ Obiena is now rescinded.
Top officials of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association said this following Monday’s Senate hearing on their ongoing dispute with Obiena, who has finally agreed to a mediation with his mother federation.
“Our decision to expel Obiena has been rescinded. We have suspended that decision because there is mediation. And so far now, he is not expelled,” said PATAFA chairman and Misamis Oriental Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.
Rodriguez talked about the status of Obiena during a 5-hour joint virtual session of the Senate committee on sports and finance.
“Now that we go to mediation, the PATAFA president will make a decision and recommend it to the board,” added Rodriguez.
During the hearing chaired by Sen. Bong Go and Sen. Pia Cayetano, Obiena said he is “more than willing” to put his issues aside “should PATAFA prove its sincerity in making peace.”
Rodriguez made clarifications on the status of Obiena after the PATAFA made a decision to shift its focus on the ongoing preparations of the Philippine national team for the coming Southeast Asian Games and Asian Games later this year.
The controversy began when Obiena was questioned by PATAFA for allegedly failing to pay over ₱4.8 million in coaching fees of Ukrainian mentor Vitaly Petrov.
The mediation process will be facilitated by the Philippine Sports Commission.
Rodriguez was responding to questions forwarded by Sen. Francis Tolentino, who said he is seeking the restoration of a ruptured relationship between Obiena and the PATAFA.
Tolentino believes that the PATAFA needs to reconsider the status of Obiena, and have talks with him as part of a family and not as an outcast.