POC puts premium on welfare of Obiena

By: Dale Rosal - CDN Digital | January 03,2022 - 02:13 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines—The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) put a premium on the welfare of newly ranked No. 6 pole vaulter in the world, Ernest John “EJ” Obiena, who has been in a rift with the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa).

The POC announced this on Monday, January 3, 2022, as it accepted the recommendations of the Ethics Committee to declare athletics president Philip Ella Juico as persona non grata.

“If a president of a member NSA [national sports association] is not in one with the aim and purpose of the POC to protect and take care of the welfare of the athletes, then he or she does not deserve the recognition of POC … as simple as that,” the POC, through its president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, said on Monday. 

“As far as the POC is concerned, the Ethics Committee acted within its inherent power, which is to determine if the conduct of a member of POC, specifically the president of the PATAFA, is ethical, professional and acceptable to the organization which he belongs to,” the POC added.

The Ethics Committee, Tolentino said, is a standing committee of POC as provided for in the bylaws whose sole purpose is about the conduct of its members.

“After the Ethics Committee found that Mr. Juico’s conduct is unethical, the [POC] Executive Board merely adopted its recommendation,” Tolentino said. “The Executive Board did not penalize the NSA, in fact, he was not removed, suspended or reprimanded.”

Tolentino said it is the POC’s prerogative to declare anybody a persona non grata—which means unacceptable person to POC.

“Based on the complaint and evidence presented, his [Juico] conduct towards Obiena, who is a very promising athlete, is unethical and violative of the provisions of the bylaws of POC specifically on uplifting the level of performance of Filipino athletes,” Tolentino said.

The POC’s legal team, Tolentino said, stressed that Juico didn’t answer the accusations against him and “he is defending himself using jurisdictional issue.”

“The complaint of Obiena is not an intra NSA dispute, but it’s all about the conduct of Mr. Juico as president of the PATAFA on the way he treated an athlete,” the POC said. 

“He [Juico] should actually be thankful that he was given the opportunity to clear his side but he opted not to and instead hide on jurisdictional issue.”

“Any organization cannot be forced to accept a person who is not acceptable to the organization,” Tolentino, also the president of the cycling NSA, said. “A persona non grata is a person not acceptable to POC.”

The announcement was very timely after Obiena now occupies the No. 6 spot in the latest rankings from the World Athletics. 

The top-ranked pole vaulter in the latest world rankings is Armand Duplantis of Sweden. The second to fifth place in the latest rankings are Christopher Nilsen (USA), Sam Kendricks (USA), KC Lightfoot (USA), and Renaud Lavillenie (France), respectively.


READ MORE: POC to conduct probe on Obiena-Patafa rift

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TAGS: Ernest John "EJ" Obiena, PATAFA, Philip Ella Juico, Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association, Philippine Olympic Committee, POC, Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino

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