An internal investigation into the PATAFA sought in the Obiena case

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Ernest John Obiena crosses the bar in the men’s pole vault track and field event at the SEA Games (Southeast Asian Games) at the Clark City Track and Field Stadium on December 7, 2019. Ted Aljibe, AFP / File

MANILA – A lawmaker has asked the House Committee on Youth Development and Sport to investigate alleged harassment by the Philippine Athletics Association (PATAFA) against Olympian EJ Obiena.

Manila 2nd District representative Ronaldo Valeriano, in his resolution released on Wednesday, said the House panel should review the rules and relationship between the Philippine Olympic Committee, national sports associations (NSAs), athletes, the Commission Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and other stakeholders under Republic Act No. 6847 or the Philippine Sports Commission Act.

PATAFA ordered Obiena to return 85,000 euros, alleging that the pole vaulter had not paid the money to his trainer, Vitaly Petrov. The federation also accused Obiena of having falsified its liquidation reports.

Obiena, who holds the national and Asian pole vault records, vehemently denied the allegations, showing documents proving he had already paid Petrov’s salary in full. He also asked for an apology.

Petrov also confirmed that he was being paid.

Valeriano noted in his resolution that PATAFA changed his accusation against Obiena of embezzlement to non-payment of the coach’s salary in time after Petrov confirmed he was being paid.

“Such accusations by PATAFA amount to harassment, an indication of this NSA’s failure to promote his well-being, or worse, even sabotage of the career of a distinguished national athlete,” he said. declared.

Valeriano also said that national athletes have long complained about Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) accredited NSAs, indulging in endless politics; not have sustainable development programs; be highly dependent on government funding and not gain support from the private sector; lack of communication and support for athletes, among other issues.

“It may be necessary to revise the rules and relationships between POC, NSAs, athletes, the Philippine Sports Commission and other stakeholders, under Republican Law No. 6847 or Law on the Philippine Sports Commission, ”he said.

Senator Pia Cayetano’s motion to recall the PSC’s budget proposal was approved earlier by the Senate after the PSC’s reported “hands-off approach” on the rift between Obiena and PATAFA angered the senator .

This prompted the PSC to condemn the alleged harassment of Obiena.

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