The Philippine Sports Commission will step back from mediation talks involving pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena and his mother federation the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association.
The sports agency said this after Obiena refused to be subjected to the PSC-initiated mediation process and instead made a decision to let the Philippine Olympic Committee and the International Olympics Committee handle the complaint that he has filed against his federation.
“The Philippine Sports Commission humbly informs the public that we are discontinuing the mediation offer. The agency leaves the mediation table, respecting the decision of Mr. Obiena, who chose to submit to procedures conducted by other institutions,” the PSC statement said.
“We have to underscore that mediation should be the first course of action being the more peaceful, equitable, confidential, voluntary option to resolve issues,”continued the PSC, which, despite Obiena’s refusal, is still open to mediation.
“The PSC though is keeping its doors open to the process should both parties agree to it in the future,” the statement ended.
In his post on Facebook, Obiena explained that a process involving the POC and IOC is already going on.
“I believe it’s appropriate to allow this process to finish unencumbered by outside matters such as a parallel mediation process. I believe it’s right to allow several more days for the POC process to conclude,” he wrote.
Obiena was recently questioned by his mother federation on his liquidation paperworks concerning Ukrainian coach Vitaliy Petrov’s 85,000 euro funding allocation.
In an affidavit signed by top World Athletics’ official Sergey Bubka and a written statement by Petrov, the coach initially alleged that he “did not receive any monthly coach’s fees for the years 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021,” for his services to Obiena.Petrov, however, later retracted his statement in a zoom conference with the Filipino pole vaulter, saying he was already paid in full, but only last November.
The discovery led the PATAFA to send a letter to Obiena, asking him to explain the discrepancies in his liquidation reports, which bore the signatures of Petrov, at a time when it was apparent he wasn’t paid yet.
Claiming harassment, Obiena filed a complaint before the Athletes Commission and Safe Sports Technical Working Group of the POC, while a similar one was sent to the IOC.
Obiena’s complaint was lodged against the PATAFA and its president Philip Ella Juico, saying his federation was attempting to collude with coaches to fabricate statements, coercing to solicit doctor-patient privileged communication, psychological abuse, bullying and neglect of duty.
The Ethics Committee is headed by rowing’s Patrick Gregorio, with sailing’s Ernesto Echauz and bridge’s Gerry Alquiros as members.