EJ Obiena AFP PHOTO FILE
THE Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) will seek private funding for Olympian pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena in case the Philippine Athletics Association (Patafa) intention to remove him from the national team materializes.
“If he were taken out of the national pool, he would effectively lose funds,” POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said on Saturday in Noli Eala’s Power and Play program.
“The question is who would fund Obiena from the day he loses his funds (from the Philippine Sports Commission [PSC]), for his training until his international competitions? This is where the POC comes in. We will certainly seek private funding for this.
The removal of Obiena from the Philippine squad is one of the recommendations of the Patafa Commission of Inquiry to investigate Obiena’s alleged falsification of compensation liquidation reports from his trainer Vitaly Petrov and the embezzlement of 61,026.80 euros or 3,661,608 P.
Other recommendations include filing an estafa (fraud) complaint against him, filing a complaint against Petrov with World Athletics for violating the Integrity Code of Conduct, and dismissing his position as national coach, as well. that the statement of Obiena’s adviser, Jim Lafferty, persona non grata.
The Patafa, however, postponed them for two weeks (from January 6) due to requests from Malacañang and the PSC to reconcile the national sports association and the athlete.
POC have previously said they will fight for Obiena’s inclusion in the national team if Patafa drops the world No. 6 in pole vault from the Philippine pole vault.
“Of course, we at POC will help EJ in his future campaigns. Of course the NSA (National Sports Associations) has the right to recommend or not, to approve or not, his athlete (s) for international competition, but there is a provision in the IOC (International Olympic Committee) charter allowing NOCs (National Olympic Committees) to approve athletes.
“In the absence of approval from a national federation, the organizer / host has the prerogative to allow athletes in difficulty – the IOC allows refugee athletes to participate in major international competitions (including the Olympics). “