POC to conduct probe on Obiena-Patafa rift
CEBU CITY, Philippines—The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) will have a separate probe that commences next week after embattled Olympian pole vaulter EJ Obiena sought help from the organization with regards to his rift with the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa).
Obiena, who was accused by Patafa of falsifying liquidation documents of his training funds, filed a formal complaint to the POC’s Athletes Commission and Safe Sports Technical Working Group, according to POC President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino.
With that, the POC tasked its Ethics Committee to conduct a probe next week to resolve the rift between Obiena and Patafa.
“The POC assures that it will resolve the issues with expediency and hold people who are accountable,” Tolentino said.
Obiena’s complaint against Patafa and its president Philip Ella Juico mainly focuses on alleged harassment, fabricating statements, and attempted collusion with coaches.
Furthermore, Obiena also filed a formal complaint against Juico and Patafa for coercing to solicit doctor-patient privileged communication, psychological abuse, bullying and neglect of duty.
Many reports indicated that several countries have already courted Obiena for naturalization amidst the issue.
With all the greater opportunities for him waiting in other countries, he might end up with the same fate as chess Grand Master (GM) Wesley So who became an American citizen due to the alleged lack of suppport from the country’s chess federation.
To prevent this from happening, the POC rallied behind Obiena through its Ethics Committee probe headed by Patrick Gregorio, Ernesto Echauz and Gerry Alquiros.
Tolentino has already ordered Patafa to cease from further releasing media statements to prevent further damage on Obiena’s reputation and damage to Philippine sports.
Even the Philippine Senate was already involved in the issue after its budget committee withheld the approval of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) 2023 budget unless they solve the issue.
The PSC, earlier this week, already intervened between Obiena and Patafa through its Mediation Submission Agreement.
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