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PBA PARTY HITS PSC FOR INACTION ON OBIENA CASE

The Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-list on Wednesday said the decision of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to take a hands-off approach on the issue involving Olympic pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) was not only unfair for Obiena but was also lazy and irresponsible on the part of the sports body.

“It is irresponsible, not to mention lazy, for the PSC to not even lift a finger to resolve this issue. They should be working double-time to help clear this issue because it involves one of our national athletes, and a very decorated one at that,” PBA Party-list spokesperson Atty. Migs Nograles said.

Nograles said the longer the issue drags on, the more unfair it was for Obiena as she slammed PATAFA for suddenly changing its story.

“Plus, as a disinterested third party, the PSC would be the best organization to conduct an impartial investigation on the matter so we could really get to the bottom of this,” she added.

PATAFA on Sunday claimed Obiena “falsified the liquidations submitted” to the federation concerning the payments for his coach Vitaly Petrov and ordered the Olympian to return €85,000 or some P4.8 million back to the association.

In response, Obiena held a virtual conference to deny PATAFA’s allegations. He was joined by Petrov, who also disputed PATAFA’S accusations and said that Obiena had paid him the €5,000 monthly stipend.

Obiena said he has also filed formal complaints with the POC (Philippine Olympic Committee), IOC (International Olympic Committee), and World Athletics and has threatened to retire if he doesn’t get “the full and public withdrawal of the investigation and a full public apology from the authorities involved.’’

“As a disinterested third party, the PSC would be the best organization to conduct an impartial investigation on the matter so we could really get to the bottom of this.”

For her part, Nograles said the longer the issue drags on, the more unfair it was for Obiena as she slammed PATAFA for suddenly changing its story.

“First they accuse EJ of not paying his coach. And now that Coach Petrov himself has said he was indeed paid in full, PATAFA is now asking EJ to prove that he paid Petrov on time. Bakit nagbago bigla ang accusation nila? Are they now changing their tune just to save face?” Nograles asked.

“This is precisely why the PSC should step in and take charge of the investigation. Kawawa ‘yong bata. Napakalaki ng potential niya, malayo pa ang mararating niya,” she added.

In September, Obiena set a new Asian pole vault record with a 5.93m clearance on his third and last try in the Golden Roof Challenge in Australia, breaking the previous record of 5.92m by Igor Potapovich of Kazakhstan 29 years ago.

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