Philip Ella Juico, the embattled president of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association, vowed to challenge the Philippine Olympic Committee’s declaration that rendered him "persona non-grata."
This is in relation to PATAFA's ongoing dispute with Olympic pole vaulter EJ Obiena over the salary of his coach Vitaly Petrov.
“Of course, we will fight it,” Juico said in a recent interview on ANC’s After the Fact. “When they asked me to attend a hearing, so-called clarificatory hearing, we attended but they said that this is not under their jurisdiction."
Juico pointed out that PATAFA's ongoing probe is between the national sports association's (NSA) board and Obiena.
"Mr. Obiena complained me of my harassment of him as president, but he is a member of the PATAFA. So it is an issue between the board and him. So it's not me against him, it's the PATAFA itself," asserted the athletics chief.
PATAFA is probing Obiena for allegedly failing to liquidate the salary of Petrov from 2018-21 that amounted to 85,000 Euros.
Juico said they are merely asking Obiena where the money went.
“We did not accuse him. We said that 'it seems,' it was like a letter asking him to return the 85,000 Euros. It’s like a demand letter and then he is supposed to explain. It’s an issue within the NSA itself,” he said.
“The issue raised against him was because of certain money matters. Wala 'yung harassment dun."
Juico added they have repeatedly given Obiena the chance to explain.
"We invited him three times. Three times he rejected. The last time I think his lawyer said they can not expect to be in a neutral venue because earlier I was already summoned by the PSA Ethics Committee because of harassment but it is not the issue. The issue is the money. Where it went. That's all," he said.
He also said the POC can not decide on such matters since it is an "intra-NSA" issue.
“Under their own constitution, the Philippine Olympic Committee’s constitution, such intra-NSA issues should be resolved within the NSA. If there is no satisfactory resolution only the POC can come in.”