PATAFA: We are actively participating in PSC mediation with Obiena

PATAFA president Philip Juico

The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) reiterated it has been actively participating in the mediation proceedings with pole vaulter EJ Obiena.

The association clarified this in response to an order issued by four senators asking the PATAFA Board of Trustees to explain why they should not be cited for contempt for allegedly reneging on a commitment to the Senate to participate in the mediation.

In a letter to Sen. Bong Go, chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports and vice chair of the Committee on Finance, PATAFA said “it participated in the mediation moderated by Philippine Sports Commission Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez on March 7 and 14 and will participate in the third mediation on March 21.”

In fact, the PATAFA said, it was Obiena who asked for a postponement of the third meeting to March 21 because of what he said was a “prior scheduled travel and other commitments.”

PATAFA has also been vocal of entering a mediation process since the PSC offered it in December, while Obiena had twice declined to participate.

In filing the resolution to cite the entire PATAFA board for contempt, Sen. Pia Cayetano said the national sports association violated its commitment to the mediation by filing a case in the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland against Obiena and the Philippine Olympic Committee.

PATAFA clarified the appeal was sent in the personal capacity of PATAFA president Philip Juico to shed light on the POC decision declaring him as “persona non grata.”

The “persona non grata” declaration was an offshoot of the complaint by Obiena against Juico in response to the PATAFA investigation regarding the alleged misuse of government funds.

“PATAFA reiterates that it has always tried to be respectful of this Honorable Office and continues, in good faith and earnest efforts, in its commitment to both this Honorable Office and the PSC, to participate in the PSC initiated mediation,” the letter said.

Three other senators -- Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Sen. Francis Tolentino – also signed the resolution filed by Sen. Cayetano.