Sports body alleges lack of due process in suspension


MANILA – The Philippine Athletics Athletics Association (PATAFA) is appalled by the Philippine Olympic Committee’s (POC) decision to suspend the organization for three months due to its spat with the world No. pole vault EJ Obiena.

PATAFA shouted that the ban was a blind side.

“PATAFA has not been granted due process and has not yet received any documentation on the POC’s alleged suspension,” read the statement released on Thursday evening, hours after the POC issued its verdict.

He also denied banning Obiena from the World Indoor Championships in Serbia and the Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam by not endorsing him.

The athletics body said it had simply deferred approval pending the completion of a mediation process.

“In PATAFA’s letter dated February 28, 2022, PATAFA replied to EJ Obiena that it will not act on your letter dated February 24, 2022 pending the completion of the mediation process arranged by the Philippine Athletic Commission ( PSC) Deferral of any action in EJ Obiena’s letter is consistent with Senate Committee directive [on Sports] to undergo mediation, in which PATAFA is currently participating,” the statement read.

However, the group said they were the only ones who could form the national team under Republic Act 6847, the law that formed the PSC.

According to the POC, he will now take over handling duties for athletics with the suspension slapped on PATAFA, opening the door for Obiena to participate in the SEA Games.

The POC said PATAFA had failed in its objective as a national sports association, which is expected to “have the dedication and commitment to the development of sport, the promotion of the ideals of the Olympic Movement and the spirit athletic”.

“Unfortunately, EJ’s non-endorsement has created a national problem,” said POC President Bambol Tolentino. “EJ Obiena, under the Charter of the International Olympic Committee, has two reasons to be approved: sporting merit and inspiration to youth.”

PATAFA said the mediation between them and Obiena had already had two sessions on March 7 and 14.

The third meeting originally scheduled for Thursday was moved to Monday due to Obiena’s previous commitments.

According to PATAFA, Obiena finally said yes to mediation after the February 7 Senate hearing but signed the agreement three weeks later.

PATAFA accused Obiena of failing to pay the salary of his foreign coach, who later cleared the athlete and said the payment had simply been delayed. (NAP)

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