Patafa agrees to defer expulsion of Obiena from national team

Published January 6, 2022, 1:54 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

House deputy speaker and and Patafa chairman Rufus Rodriguez (Rep. Rufus Rodriguez’ Facebook page)

The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) has agreed to defer the implementation of the administrative committee’s recommendations involving pole vaulter EJ Obiena including his expulsion from the national team.

In a letter to Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez dated Jan. 5, Patafa chairman Rufus Rodriguez said the move is “in deference to the comments made by Malacañang and due respect to the PSC and its Board of Trustees further the Statement of the Board.”

The deferment, however, will only be for a period of two weeks as Patafa “strongly urges all the parties to submit to PSC Mediation and explain the matter of liquidation at the said forum.”

“This decision is and has always been consistent with Patafa’s consent and willingness to submit to the PSC’s offer for mediation as relayed in its letter dated Dec. 7, 2021,” the letter read.

The development came after Ramirez, speaking in behalf of the PSC Board, laid down demands to involved parties including Patafa “to reconsider their declaration of dropping EJ (Obiena) from their rolls and provide him an appeal mechanism and not to execute their decision immediately.”

The Patafa administrative committee recommended Obiena’s expulsion and filing of legal complaint following its conclusion that the Tokyo Olympian misappropriated funds intended for his Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov based from their reports and findings.

“We are here, we have offered our neutral table to seek a peaceful resolution to this from the very beginning. It is one thing to declare your stand publicly and one thing to follow it through with action. If we really all desire to see this to resolution, please listen to us,” Ramirez said.

It can be recalled that the PSC offered to mediate between Obiena and Patafa last November. Patafa agreed and submitted the required papers to proceed, while Obiena also initially agreed before politely turning it down after he felt that he would not be treated fairly by Patafa during mediation.