Ej Obiena withdraws from PSC mediation with Patafa

EJ Obiena (Photo from EJ Obiena’s Facebook account)

Pole vaulter EJ Obiena has withdrawn from the Philippine Sports Commission’s (PSC) mediation offer to resolve the rift between him and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa).

In a statement posted on social media Monday, Obiena said “it is a recipe for failure to enter into mediation when one party is in bad faith.”

He was referring to Patafa, which accused him for alleged misuse of government funds intended for his Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov.

“Patafa was in bad faith the whole time as they signed the mediation with their true intention to still pursue the filing of a baseless criminal case of estafa against me,” Obiena wrote.

“Patafa has said they want a peaceful resolution, but their actions proved it is a lie. You cannot have peace while pointing a gun at the other guy’s head and say ‘let’s have a peaceful resolution.’ This is the exact opposite of good faith mediation.”

Obiena also said “it is now irrefutable with the new date emerging that Patafa manipulated the facts to mislead the public” while also accusing his mother, former Patafa auditor Jeanette Obiena, of being involved with the issue.

“Where is the dignity and respect in that? I do not believe I can enter into any mediation with people who are seemingly focused on destroying me. For me, hurling multiple false accusations, hiding information and lying are not the framework for good faith and mediation,” the Tokyo Olympian wrote.

Patafa has signed the mediation agreement in a letter to the PSC last Jan. 11 with president Philip Juico, Atty. Aldrin Cabiles and Alfonso Sta. Clara scheduled to represent in the process.

Despite his decision, Obiena thanked the efforts of PSC and its chairman Butch Ramirez “for his hard work as a peacemaker.”

“I believe in mediation as a tool for peace and have full trust and confidence in the integrity of Chairman Butch Ramirez. Unfortunately, it seems that Patafa is only using mediation as a means to silence me and to keep the truth hidden,” he wrote.

Obiena also said that as of Jan. 21, 2022, all his pending liquidation with the PSC is done.

Ramirez, meanwhile, said the PSC accounting with the supervision of Commission on Audit has started its investigation under the leadership of PSC executive director Atty. Guillermo Iroy as approved by the PSC Board in its meeting last Tuesday.

“The executive director is entrusted by the Board to take charge of this investigation and will make appropriate advisory to the two parties and the press,” Ramirez said.

Meanwhile, Juico declined to comment on the matter at the moment until there is a formal announcement and declaration on the status of the mediation and on how to proceed following Obiena’s decision.