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Solon asks PATAFA to hold special election

Cong. Lawrence Fortun.
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Asian pole vaulting star EJ Obiena is continuing to get support from personalities from other sports.

Someone from the football community was among the latest to do so on Wednesday, calling on the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association to stop its planned actions on Obiena as the entire national athletics team might also be affected by this.

"PATAFA by its latest actions against EJ Obiena is making matters worse. PATAFA must be stopped now but without endangering the ongoing training of Obiena and all other athletes on the national pool," Agusan Del Norte 1st District representative Lawrence Fortun said in a statement.

Fortun, a member of the Philippine Football Federation board of governors, even asked PATAFA to hold a special election for the presidency as he believes the Philippine Olympic Committee's decision to declare incumbent chief Popoy Juico persona non grata basically means PATAFA's top post is also considered vacant.

The POC said that by declaring Juico persona non grata, it is not recognizing his leadership in the national sports association despite being re-elected last November.

"Calling for a special election for a new PATAFA president is not enough, but it is a good first step to save the PATAFA from its leadership and moral crisis and set the tone for reforms in every national sports association," Fortun further said. "The Office of PATAFA President is considered vacant. Juico, right now, is not the PATAFA President."

He also called on the Philippine Sports Commission, Commission on Audit, and the Department of Budget and Management to look at PATAFA's assets as financial matters sparked its row against Obiena.

"I urge the Philippine Sports Commission and the Commission on Audit to make sure every NSA is audited for all the public funds they receive from any national or local government agency. COA, conduct the special audit on the PATAFA first. I ask the PSC and DBM to freeze all their administrative and personnel subsidies to the Office of the PATAFA President now that the POC has withdrawn its recognition of Juico as PATAFA President," Fortun added.

Other non-pole vaulters who expressed their support for Obiena are former volleyball player and current senator Pia Cayetano and pro boxer Eumir Marcial.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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