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PBA PARTY-LIST TO PATAFA: HELP EJ WITH LIQUIDATION

Instead of expelling EJ Obiena, the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) should extend him the necessary assistance for him to finish and submit his liquidation report at the soonest possible time, the Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta said Friday.

“Instead of kicking him out of the national team, bakit hindi nila bigyan ng accountant si EJ para tumulong sa pag-aayos ng liquidation niya? Why is our knee-jerk reaction to expel him and not help him?” PBA Party-list spokesperson Atty. Migs Nograles said.

“This dispute all stems from a liquidation issue. So why not simply fix that issue so that we can put all this behind us? Help EJ with the paperwork, which in the first place, he should not be the one doing. It boggles the mind why he was left to take care of payroll and other financial matters when what he should have been doing was concentrating on his training,” she added.

Obiena said he has already made partial liquidation save for a balance of P2,226,260.00 involving the coaching fee of his Ukranian coach Vitaly Petrov.

“This dispute all stems from a liquidation issue. So why not simply fix that issue so that we can put all this behind us? Help EJ with the paperwork, which in the first place, he should not be the one doing.”

The pole vault star said the liquidation of Petrov’s fees could not be approved without his contract with PATAFA, which the athlete says has not been transmitted to the Philippine Sports Commission despite numerous requests.

Nograles reiterated the PBA’s call for national sports associations (NSAs) to provide their athletes with dedicated support teams to assist with financial, administrative, and logistical matters.

“Not only is having to take care of administrative matters a time-consuming burden to our athletes, it also causes unnecessary stress and distractions, taking their focus away from their training,” the Davaoeña lawyer said.

“Having said that, we understand, of course, the importance of properly liquidating expenses especially since this is taxpayers’ money we are talking about, but this could be fixed simply by providing support staff. Having administrative staff as support should be the norm for our athletes and coaches, and in the case of EJ Obiena, PATAFA should have taken care of this.” she stressed.

Moreover, Nograles said unless Obiena is convicted in a court of law, the Tokyo Olympian should still be allowed to play in international competitions.

The pole vault star said the liquidation of Petrov’s fees could not be approved without his contract with PATAFA, which the athlete says has not been transmitted to the Philippine Sports Commission despite numerous requests.

“We are thankful that EJ is still willing to compete for the Philippines despite what he has gone through. So unless a competent court finds him guilty of committing estafa, he should still be allowed to represent our country especially since he is the Asian record holder for his sport,” she said.

The PATAFA had earlier threatened to file a criminal complaint of estafa against Obiena over €6,000 meant for the salary of Petrov from May 2018 to August 2018.

The PATAFA is also set to file a complaint against Petrov before the World Athletics for “violation of the Integrity Code of Conduct” and immediately terminate his role as the federation’s coach. Obiena’s backer and adviser James Lafferty, meanwhile, is set to be declared as persona non grata by the federation.

Obiena broke the long-standing record in Asia held by Igor Potapovich of Kazakhstan since 1992 when he cleared 5.93 meters in the 17th Golden Roof Challenge in Austria in September last year.

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