The Philippine Sports Comission (PSC) offered a neutral table to discuss the issue with Olympian pole vaulter EJ Obiena, the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA), and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).

/ 6 January 2022

“We are here, we have offered our neutral table to seek a peaceful resolution to this from the very beginning. It is one thing to declare your stand publicly and one thing to follow it through with action. If we really all desire to see this to resolution, please listen to us,” PSC chairman William “Butch” Ramirez said in a statement on Wednesday. 

In its attempt to resolve the issue, the agency has laid down four demands which are as follows:

  1. We demand for EJ to immediately finish his liquidation of accounts so that we can continue to support him
  2. We demand for PATAFA to reconsider their declaration of dropping EJ from their rolls, provide him an appeal mechanism and not to execute their decision immediately.
  3. We demand for the POC to bridge the two parties as the mother organization of both and reconsider their decision of declaring Mr. Juico persona non-grata on the premise of promoting peace in elite sports.
  4. We demand for the PATAFA, EJ, the POC and all the parties who wish to stoke the fire of this mad issue to stop. You have all publicly recognized the PSC and asked us to help resolve the issue, please listen to us on this simple request. Stop issuing public statements and come to the table with us to discuss this matter.

The statement came after PATAFA dropped Obiena from the national training pool after concluding its investigation into alleged fund misappropriation and intending to charge the Olympian and his mother.

In response, Obiena stated that he was prepared to face all charges, with POC president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino claiming that his exclusion from the national team pool was a “vengeful act.”

Moreover, POC declared PATAFA president Philip Ella Juico persona non grata for allegedly being too harsh in dealing with Obiena.

“We hope that we can all arrive at a resolution soon. The PSC board is set to report all related information to the Office of the President this afternoon,” said Ramirez. “We remain committed to the Filipino athlete.”