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EJ Obiena denies refusing to undergo mediation

EJ Obiena denied that he is against a mediation between him and PATAFA. Reuters (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—EJ Obiena has denied that he does not want a mediation process to happen between him and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association.

In a statement on Tuesday night, Obiena refuted accusations of him ducking away from mediation after the Philippine Sports Commission dropped the idea last week and even claimed that he quickly said yes to it.

[Related Story: PSC calls off mediation between PATAFA, EJ Obiena]

"I have been accused of refusing to undergo mediation. This is farthest from the truth. When Chairman [Butch] Ramirez called me in November to bring up the offer, I immediately said that I am open to it," Obiena said. "But the events following that discussion, particularly PATAFA and/or Philip Juico’s actions during the PATAFA Committee, the POC Ethics Committee and House Committee hearings clearly gave me the impression that I will not be treated fairly by PATAFA. I communicated this to Chairman Butch again just prior to Christmas, only a few days before he withdrew the PSC offer for mediation."

The allegations of him not wanting to undergo mediation probably stemmed from his previous statement on Christmas Eve when he said, "I honestly don’t see what is left to mediate."

Although he said in his Christmas message that he was the first to say yes to the mediation, which he reiterated in his latest statement, Obiena first wanted that the Philippine Olympic Committee should finish first its findings regarding the PATAFA-Obiena row and have the liquidation of his payments be made public before he undergoes mediation.

With the mediation now out of the equation, the focus is on the estafa complaint set to be charged by PATAFA on him, which would coincide with the start of the pole vaulting season.

"The drama brought about by this witch hunt has taken valuable time, effort and energy away from my training and preparation. I have a small window to save my season and I do not want to be distracted any further by Philip Juico and the PATAFA. They have done enough damage already and I will be at fault if I allow them to cause further harm. I will clear my name in court and I will clear my name in competition," Obiena said.

He then said that he will use his performances as an advocacy to stand up for the truth.

"My pole will be my platform. My every jump is my defiance to everything that is wrong in the sport. And an affirmation that the Filipino is tough, enduring, loyal and will stand up for what is right and true," Obiena further said.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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