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'Bad faith' pushes EJ Obiena out of mediation with PATAFA

EJ Obiena is withdrawing himself from the mediation. Reuters (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—The supposed mediation between EJ Obiena and the Philippine Athletics Track And Field Association is considered off again after Obiena has pulled himself out of the talks.

In a statement on Monday, the world number six male pole vaulter said that he was "forced to officially withdraw" from the mediation process to be led by the Philippine Sports Commission "due to the bad faith" of his mother national sports association.

"It is a recipe for failure to enter into mediation when one party is in bad faith; PATAFA was in bad faith this whole time as they signed the mediation with their true intention to still pursue the filing of a baseless criminal case of estafa against me," Obiena said.

Obiena also accused PATAFA of lying about its true intent to enter mediation with him, bringing up the case of World Athletics vice president Sergey Bubka's affidavit regarding Obiena's liquidation matters.

"PATAFA has said they want a peaceful resolution, but their actions prove this as a lie. You cannot have peace while pointing a gun at the other guys’ head, and say 'let’s have a peaceful resolution.' This is the exact opposite of good faith mediation. They have been telling the public that Sergey Bubka voluntarily executed his affidavit. They omitted the fact that it was Mr. [Popoy] Juico who prepared the affidavit of Sergey Bubka, instructed him to get it apostilled, paid all associated costs, and cajoled him to sign," Obiena claimed.

Regarding the liquidation itself, Obiena said that he already completed it last week.

"As of January 21, 2022 all my pending liquidation with the PSC is done. It’s closed," he added while thanking PSC chairman Butch Ramirez for his efforts as the peacemaker.

Obiena also lashed out at PATAFA for not completing the information it released during its press conference on Jan. 4 where the body ruled to have him removed from the national team and slapped with an estafa complaint.

"They deliberately excluded the fact that as early as 2020, I have already emailed them Coach Vitaliy [Petrov]’s bank details. Again, this is irrefutably misleading. I never wanted the money to go thru me, but it still did while PATAFA had Coach Vitaliy’s bank details. Isiniit niyo ako dito tapos ngayon idedemanda ako at sisisihin niyo dahil di ko nagampanan yung trabaho ninyo," Obiena further said.

While he clarified that he is not here to ruin the Philippine sports scene, Obiena vowed that he is fighting for the Filipino athletes who might be embroiled in a similar situation in the future.

"I am not here to create chaos in Philippine sports but I fight because I don’t want this to ever happen again to any Filipino athlete. Marami na tayong nasayang," he further said.

Obiena then clarified that he remains open for a mediation as long as it will be done in public and not through a series of private meetings.

"I believe in mediation as a tool for peace and have full trust and confidence in the integrity of Chairman Butch Ramirez. Unfortunately, it seems that PATAFA is only using mediation as means to silence me and to keep the truth hidden. They always trumpet that I should go to mediation if I have nothing to hide. I have nothing to hide and that is the reason why I do not want to go to confidential mediation. Darkness is the home of the oppressor. I want the truth out in public, the same public where I was judged as guilty without due process by Mr. Juico," he further said.

Obiena then stressed that he is representing the Philippines and not PATAFA.

"I do not jump for Mr. Philip Ella Juico or the PATAFA. I jump for my beloved country, Philippines," he further said.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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