(SPOT.ph) Olympian and pole vault athlete EJ Obiena has been in a feud with Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association ever since the athletics federation accused him falsifying liquidation documents on November 20, 2021. It has reached to the point that the Philip Ella Juico-led organization recommended that he be expelled from the national team, which means losing funding from the Philippine Sports Commission. Despite this hurdle, Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham Tolentino said on January 25 that they will make sure that Obiena can continue to compete for the Philippines. This includes the upcoming Southeast Asian Games in Bangkok on May 12 and 13.
Also read: The Feud Between PATAFA and Olympian EJ Obiena: A Short History
“There is a provision in the [International Olympic Committee] charter that emphasized the [National Olympic Committee]’s sole authority to submit the delegation proposed by its national sports association as the final list in all Olympic, regional, continental and world multi-sports events patronized by the IOC,” he said during the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday.
Tolentino further explained that Obiena is part of the Philippine Olympic Committee's (POC) list of 80 athletes who will be financing their own trip to the Southeast Asian Games. And just in case he will not be endorsed by the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) and will not be funded by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the POC will help him look for private funding.
Just today, January 26, the POC declared Juico a persona non grata. This was decided upon by a majority of votes from 36 members, including Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz. Juico was elected president of PATAFA in November 2014.
Formerly known as the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association, PATAFA is a sports governing body that was formally recognized as a national sports association by the POC in 2015. PSC, on the other hand, is a government-mandated agency that is currently led by Butch Ramirez. It is independent from the POC, which is a private and non-governmental organization recognized by the International Olympic Committee to have sole authority for representation of the Philippines in the Olympic Games, the Asian Games, the Southeast Asian Games and other multi-event competitions.