Cayetano hails successful mediation of Obiena-PATAFA row: ‘Looking forward to seeing EJ jump again!’

Senator Pia Cayetano on Thursday welcomed the successful resolution of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) after pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena and the leadership of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) have agreed to a settlement.

Following the successful mediation, PATAFA will now endorse Obiena in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam this May and the 2022 World Outdoor Athletics.

“It’s over! This long running ordeal between world no.5 Olympian pole vaulter Ernest Obiena and his national sports association, PATAFA has come to an end,” Cayetano said in a statement.

“The Philippine Sports Commission has announced that EJ has been endorsed to play in the Southeast Asian Games and the World Outdoor Athletics championship. All details regarding the mediation are confidential,” she further said.

“I look forward to seeing EJ jump again for the honor and glory of our country!” the senator stressed.

Initially, Obiena was left off the list of national athletes the PATAFA, Obiena’s national sports association (NSA), submitted to the SEA Games.

He also missed the World Athletics Indoor Championships due to PATAFA’s non-endorsement.

It was PSC Chairman William Ramirez who served as the sole mediator in the proceedings which was conducted virtually.

The Philippine Olympic Commission (POC) had earlier also deferred its suspension of PATAFA “in the spirit of sportsmanship.”

The Senate Committee on Sports, chaired by Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go earlier held a Senate inquiry into the controversy hounding PATAFA and urged both parties to settle their disagreement so as not to affect the Philippines' standing in the international sports community.