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PBA PARTY-LIST LAUDS OBIENA-PATAFA ROW RESOLUTION

The Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-list lauded the settlement of the dispute between star pole vaulter EJ Obiena and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA).

“We are relieved that this issue has been amicably resolved and finally put to rest. We hope that this dark chapter of PATAFA has been closed and will not be repeated in the future,” PBA spokesperson Atty. Migs Nograles said.

The POC earlier threatened to suspend PATAFA for 90 days “failing to serve its purpose as an NSA” when it denied Obiena’s request to be endorsed to four major international competitions.

Obiena and the PATAFA had recently settled their months-long dispute through the mediation process led by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

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

Because of the rift, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) Executive Board declared PATAFA president Philip Juico “persona non grata.”

“We hope that both EJ and PATAFA learned their lessons from this. We trust that the PATAFA will put in place measures that will make it easier for their athletes to liquidate expenses and we also expect EJ and all other athletes to be more transparent in their expenses,” Nograles said.

“Moving forward, we hope all other national sports associations (NSAs) will first exhaust all means to resolve internal disputes before threatening legal action on their athletes,” she added.

The PSC said Obiena apologized to PATAFA, its board members, Juico, and Obiena’s teammates after the mediation proceeding.

With the issue behind them, the PATAFA has also now agreed to endorse Obiena to play in the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) and the 2022 World Athletics Championships.

The 31st SEA Games will be held in May in Hanoi, Vietnam, while the World Athletics Championships are scheduled for July in Oregon in the United States.

The PSC said Obiena apologized to PATAFA, its board members, Juico, and Obiena’s teammates after the mediation proceeding.

The POC earlier threatened to suspend PATAFA for 90 days “failing to serve its purpose as an NSA” when it denied Obiena’s request to be endorsed to four major international competitions.

Because of PATAFA’s non-endorsement, Obiena failed to compete in the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Serbia earlier this March.

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