The Philippine Sports Commission Board on Monday revealed that it is still waiting for the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association and pole vaulter EJ Obiena to return the Mediation Submission Agreement, which the commission forwarded to the two parties last November 25, 2021 in an effort to resolve the conflict between the two.
In a special board meeting on Monday, the PSC Board, expressing concern over the delay, agreed to set December 15 as a target date by which time all parties are expected to have submitted to the proposed mediation.
Last week, Obiena got tangled in controversy after the PATAFA alleged that he may have falsified his liquidation reports and failed to turn over payment of 85,000 euros for his coach Vitaly Petrov.
The PATAFA formed two investigating panels, which are now evaluating the affidavits of top World Athletics official Sergey Bubka and the written statement of Petrov, who initially alleged that he “did not receive any monthly coach’s fees for the years 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021,” for his services to Obiena. He later retracted his statement in a zoom conference with the Filipino pole vaulter, saying he was already paid in full.
“Again, my role is to facilitate communication between the parties, not to decide who is right or wrong. Mediation is the best option for now so the parties can reconcile, open communication lines, and continue the work that needs to be done. The parties owe it to the government and the Filipino people to resolve the issues amicably. A failed mediation will be detrimental to both parties,” said PSC chairman William Ramirez.
“As an elder of the Philippine sports community, I am asking them to submit to mediation for their mutual benefit.” Ramirez said, adding that as the chairman of the sports agency, he is duty-bound to explore ways to help resolve the issue.
The PSC understands that the other aspect of the dispute involves an internal process within the PATAFA and World Athletics. This notwithstanding, the PSC vows to help the parties reach a settlement agreement while protecting government interest.
In relation to this, the PSC board reiterated its position in upholding the implementation of the ‘NO LIQUIDATION, NO FUNDING’ policy — a guideline put in place during Ramirez’s administration to aid the swifter liquidation of problematic accounts and has so far resulted to an estimated 80% decline in unliquidated financial assistances to national sports associations.
The agency also reminded all NSAs to strictly comply with the Commission on Audit Rules to liquidate the financial assistance or any funding received from the PSC within 60 days from completion of the project as required under COA Circular 2007-001 dated October 25, 2007.
Meanwhile, a legal team from the Philippine Olympic Committee has also been formed to look into his case.
Lawyer Wharton Chan of the POC is set to discuss the row with Obiena and the PATAFA at the soonest time.