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PSC chief Butch Ramirez confirms EJ Obiena to undergo knee surgery

EJ Obiena will be undergoing another knee surgery. Reuters (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez confirmed on Tuesday that EJ Obiena will be undergoing surgery on his knee to start the year.

Ramirez said that his office has already released funds to back up the expenditures for the said surgery.

"Obiena needs help for his medical procedure, which we just approved yesterday of an amount to take care of his surgery," Ramirez said in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News' Dyan Castillejo on Monday, Obiena's longtime adviser Jim Lafferty revealed that Obiena, who previously had an anterior cruciate ligament injury fixed through surgery, has a small meniscus tear in his left knee, the same knee where he injured his ACL before.

Funding for a national athlete's medical procedures requires a certification from the athlete's mother national sports association, which deemed the PSC funding Obiena nearly impossible since Obiena is embroiled in a feud with the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association.

Good thing for the PSC, PATAFA certified the funding.

"Atty. [Guillermo] Iroy, the executive director, communicated to PATAFA, and on good will, in the spirit for posit forthcoming mediation, they certified it because without certification, we cannot give in to this incentive," Ramirez said. "We have to thank PATAFA for this action."

The development looks like a positive sign that PATAFA is ready to settle its dispute with Obiena which interestingly enough is caused by allegations of the world number six pole vaulter mishandling his funding.

Both parties have verbally agreed to undergo mediation to be led by Ramirez, but he clarified that neither of them made a formal submission into it.

Ramirez wants the mediation to be completed before his term as PSC chief ends on June 30.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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