By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno
MANILA – The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has laid down some requests to the camps involved in the tension between the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) and pole vault star Ernest John “EJ” Obiena.
In a statement on Wednesday, PSC Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez said the PSC board called on Obiena to complete the liquidation of his payments to his coach Vitaly Petrov, which is said to be the primary cause of his beef with PATAFA.
“EJ has given his partial liquidation report and the documents are now being examined and verified. This is a good step. Do not allow anyone to use those against you by getting it done. Finalize your liquidation and then you can focus on the other concerns,” Ramirez said. “We demand for EJ to immediately finish his liquidation of accounts so that we can continue to support him.”
The PSC also called on PATAFA “to reconsider their declaration of dropping EJ from their rolls”.
“Provide him an appeal mechanism and not to execute their decision immediately,” Ramirez added, also pertaining to the threats of filing estafa complaints against Obiena, the Asian pole vault record holder.
The PSC also called on the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) to drop its initial call to declare PATAFA chief Popoy Juico persona non grata “on the premise of promoting peace in elite sports”.
He said the PSC board also asked the POC “to bridge the two parties as the mother organization of both”.
Ramirez asked all the parties involved and even those who plan to chime in to refrain from making further statements from hereon.
“We demand for the PATAFA, EJ, the POC and all the parties who wish to stoke the fire of this mad issue to stop. You have all publicly recognized the PSC and asked us to help resolve the issue, please listen to us on this simple request. Stop issuing public statements and come to the table with us to discuss this matter,” Ramirez said.
Two lawmakers, Congressman Eric Martinez and Senator Pia Cayetano, were among the latest to issue their takes on the PATAFA-Obiena row.
Martinez on Tuesday said Obiena, whom he called “the future of Philippine athletics,” should not be treated like what PATAFA did to him.
Meanwhile, Cayetano later in the day said she is “beyond disgusted with the latest actions and statements of PATAFA’s Philip Juico, who is single-handedly killing the Filipino athletes.” (PNA)