Legal case looms for Obiena
EJ Obiena has been officially stricken out from the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association's (PATAFA) list of athletes.
This as the PATAFA decided to "move on" from its feud with the Olympic pole vaulter and focus on the rest of its athletes.
“The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association moves on," read the statement signed by PATAFA president Philip Ella Juico and chairman Rufus Rodriguez.
The PATAFA said it has already concluded its internal investigation regarding the liquidation of funds involving the salary of Obiena's coach Vitaly Petrov.
“With respect to Mr. Ernest John Obiena, he has chosen to remove himself from the jurisdiction of PATAFA,” the association said.
This means PATAFA will no longer endorse Obiena for funding, including his monthly allowance, from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
“He decided to align, work with and avail himself of total support purportedly guaranteed by his patrons, agents, and political backers. They are expected to support his training, maintenance, medical needs, and compliance with requirements of tournament organizers,” PATAFA said.
The PSC has twice tried to mediate between PATAFA and Obiena, but the pole vaulter, whois ranked fifth in the world, backed out and accused the sporting association of acting in "bad faith."
PATAFA, meanwhile, will direct its focus on its preparations for the 31st Southeast Asian Games this May in Hanoi, Vietnam.
“There’s so much work to be done and attention that needs to be given to our more than 50 athletes, coaches and other stakeholders. All of them need to be given the same proportionate opportunities provided to an exclusive circle,” said PATAFA.
The association, however, said it is poised to take legal action against the Olympian.
“Even as PATAFA considers this Obiena case closed, with the COA doing a special audit, the PATAFA is constrained by law and policies to pursue legal options as identified by the committee which investigated the allegations against him. This responsibility falls on our shoulders,” said PATAFA.
“We wish Mr. Obiena Godspeed and success in his endeavors.”