Olympian pole vaulter EJ Obiena has engaged the services of lawyer Alex Avisado and the Gana Tan Atienza Avisado Law Offices as his legal counsel in the ongoing rift with the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa).
Obiena disclosed this Monday in a long social media post extending his gratitude for the people who have been supporting him in his current endeavor.
“Today, I have officially engaged Atty. Alex Avisado and the Gana Tan Atienza Avisado Law Offices as my legal counsel to represent me in all current and future investigations including the filing of any possible and appropriate civil, criminal and administrative actions,” Obiena wrote.
“I would like to particularly thank Atty. Alex Avisado, who is advising me on the twist and turns of this unending and ever so changing issue.”
Obiena has been in the center of controversy after Patafa sent him a letter questioning his alleged misuse of government funds intended for his Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov.
The world No. 6 pole vaulter has repeatedly denied this, and has claimed that Patafa’s statements have damaged his reputation and affected his training for future high-level tournaments.
Obiena has been training in Formia, Italy for the past years.
Patafa, for its part, reiterated it only acted on a testimony signed by Petrov, who informed the association that he did not receive payments for his services at that time.
Patafa has already formed an administrative committee to deal with the issue, while the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has also ordered its Ethic Committee to look into the matter.
The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) will also act as a mediator for both parties. Patafa chief Philip Juico said they are open for discussion, but only after the administrative committee finished their investigation.