Olympian says PATAFA only wanted him out
Filipino Olympic pole-vaulter EJ Obiena said he was saddened but not surprised by the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association's (PATAFA) decision to lodge a case against him and recommend his expulsion from the national team.
The national governing body for athletics made the decision after announcing the results of its probe into Obiena's alleged non-payment of coaching fees to Ukrainian national Vitaly Petrov, as well as his reported falsification of liquidation documents.
"I am relieved that I now finally know what I am being charged with . . . I am ready to face all cases and charges filed against me in any court or forum. I am hopeful that I will have my fair day in court and that I can finally end this baseless witch hunt," Obiena, the top-ranking pole vaulter in Asia, said in a lengthy post on social media.
Obiena has asserted he settled his payment to his coach and everything was done legally.
He was also saddened for Petrov and adviser-patron Jim Lafferty for being dragged into the mess.
"PATAFA will file charges against me for ESTAFA even if I have already paid my coach the entire amount that is due him. They refuse to recognize this and would rather drag me to court. I am ready for everything that Philip Juico and the PATAFA will throw at me as their intention now is finally clear, they want me out of the Philippine Team and they don’t want me to jump for the Philippines. They should have just said this two months ago and saved everyone a lot of time and grief," he said.
Obiena said he has received assurance from the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) he will still able to compete for the Philippines.
He stressed he will be competing for the flag and not for the PATAFA leadership.
Obiena also thanked everyone who backed him in his bitter feud with Juico.
"I thank the POC for doing what is right for the nation and as the National Olympic Committee . . . I do not jump for Mr. Philip Ella Juico or the PATAFA. I jump for my beloved nation," said Obiena.