Ramirez pleads for mediation, tells Obiena, Patafa to sit down and talk

Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez pleaded to pole vaulter EJ Obiena and Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) officials to sit down and talk among themselves the ongoing dispute that has been dragging on for months.

“My point of reference is if they continue to fight each other, walang katapusan na ito,” Ramirez said in PSC’s People Sports Conversations program aired live on social media Thursday.

“Nakakahiya sa taong bayan na pinagkukunan ng funding, nakakahiya sa ibang bansa na pinag-uusapan tayo.”

His statements came after the PSC mediation process was put on hold following Obiena’s withdrawal of the proceedings. Patafa has earlier made its intention to participate.

Ramirez said the PSC still remained open to mediate between the two warring parties despite Obiena’s withdrawal and believed that “mediation is the best option.”

“Mediation is something we stand for. It’s the best option to seek resolution of the matter because it is an opportunity for both parties to lay out their points without judgment,” he said.

“We are sad because the elite athletes are under the principles of Olympism that speaks of friendship, respect and excellence. It is for this reason that we like them to reconcile.”

With the mediation put on hold, Ramirez pleaded to both parties to be humble and try to resolve the issue among them.

“Magpakumbaba tayo sa isa’t isa. (EJ Obiena’s spokesperson) Jim Lafferty likes to talk. Lawyers love to fight. Other people, sinasabi magkagatan na lang kayo. Ako lang, if ayaw nila ng mediation, mag-usap na lang silang dalawa,” Ramirez said.

“Pera ng taong bayan yan. Maraming Pilipinong nagugutom, walang gamot, walang pagkain, may COVID. Tapos tayo, pera ng bayan pinag-aawayan natin. Nakakahiya.”

“I’m talking to Popoy (Juico) like a brother and to EJ (Obiena) like a father.”