PSC stands firm, says Obiena and Patafa must submit mediation papers until Dec. 15

Published November 29, 2021, 3:44 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

From left, EJ Obiena, PSC chairman Butch Ramirez, Patafa chief Philip Juico

The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) is giving pole vaulter EJ Obiena and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) until Dec. 15 to submit the signed Mediation Agreement concerning their ongoing dispute.

In a statement Monday, the PSC Board expressed concern over the delay of submission from both parties “knowing the urgency for the mediation process to begin for the issue to be resolved.”

“Mediation is the best option for now so the parties can reconcile, open communication lines and continue the work that needs to be done,” PSC chairman Butch Ramirez said.

“The parties owe it to the government and the Filipino people to resolve the issues amicably.”

Ramirez reiterated his role is only to facilitate the communication between parties and not to decide who is right or wrong.

He also said the ongoing dispute has caught the attention of the international sports community and the misimpression is putting Philippine sports in a bad light.

“As an elder of the Philippine sports community, I am asking them to submit to mediation for their mutual benefit,” Ramirez said.

The PSC has already transmitted the Mediation Submission Agreement last Nov. 25. Since then, they have been waiting for both Patafa led by its president Philip Juico, and Obiena to return the said document with their signatures.

Juico said it will continue its own investigation on the alleged questionable liquidation documents submitted by Obiena regarding the coaching fees of his Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov while training in Formia, Italy for the past years.

Obiena, currently ranked No. 6 in the world and a Tokyo Olympian, has since denied accusations and has opted to engage legal services for current and future investigations after the issue damaged his reputation and affected his training.

In relation to this, the PSC Board reiterated its “No liquidation, no funding” policy to all national sports associations (NSAs) in compliance with the Commission on Audit (COA) Rules to liquidate the financial assistance or any funding received from the PSC within 60 days from completion of the project.

The policy has so far resulted in an estimated 80 percent decline in unliquidated financial assistance to the NSAs.