Tabal denies PATAFA claim she had resigned a second time

Mars G. Alison
Tabal denies PATAFA claim she had resigned a second time
Mary Joy Tabal says she won't admit she had resigned, saying she was instead cut from the national team by PATAFA

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Olympic marathoner Mary Joy Tabal disputes the claim the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) that she had resigned a second time from the national team as she seeks reinstatement to compete at the 29th Southeast Asian Games. 

“I did not resign from the national team after the Rio Olympics,” Tabal tells Rappler on Thursday, June 8.

Tabal is on her way back to Italy to continue her training despite the uncertainty of her representing the Philippines this August in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

PATAFA president Philip Ella Juico was quoted by Cebu Daily News as having said “she resigned,” adding that “she never said she was coming back despite us reaching out to ask her if she wants to meet about her reinstatement.”

Tabal said she is very confused why the national media keeps asking her about having resigned from the national team after the Rio Olympics when she never did either in writing or verbally. 

“The first and only time I resigned and sent a resignation letter was back in 2015 when I won silver in the Southeast Asian Games, that was the first and only time,” said Tabal who was in Seoul airport waiting to board her plane to Italy. (READ: PATAFA’s Juico on marathoner Tabal: ‘We don’t like you’)

She added that she had received an emailed reply then from PATAFA president Philip Ella Juico stating that he accepts her resignation. 

Because she resigned in 2015, the next year in 2016, when she qualified for the Rio Olympics, she asked to be reinstated, the first time she says she had done so. 

The second time is now, but not because she resigned from the national team after the Rio Olympics but because she received a letter from PATAFA general secretary Reynato Unso on August 31, 2016 (that was dated August 24) stating that her stint with the national team was only until August 30, 2016.  

Juico in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer said that he is willing to welcome Tabal back into the national team if she clarifies that she was not axed by PATAFA but instead that she was the one who resigned. That condition has Tabal saying she feels confused.

Tabal said that her group, made up of her, her coach John Philip Dueñas and MotorAce Philippines, Inc headed by its president Jonel Borromeo, is willing to comply with whatever PATAFA requires for her reinstatement but that she has to be truthful and insist that she did not resign for the second time after the Rio Olympics. 

According to Tabal, she had felt really crushed upon receiving the letter from Unso back in August. 

She had thought that having represented the country in the Rio Olympics had assured her of a smooth working relationship with PATAFA. 

Tabal said she accepted PATAFA’s decision because they had also agreed to meet with her and her group regarding her reinstatement, as was also stated in Unso’s letter. 

In last Tuesday’s, June 6, press conference held by MotorAce, Dueñas said that PATAFA met with Tabal and her group on September 28, 2016, during which the governing body discussed the conditions for her reinstatement which included having her train in Manila under the national coach. 

Dueñas, Tabal’s long-time coach, asked then if they could work together by letting her have her base training in Cebu and her peak training in Manila, a plan to which they were amiable. 

Also in that meeting, Dueñas said that Juico asked them to submit a macro training program for Tabal by October because they wanted to see its direction. 

Dueñas said that he complied with it but by November, PATAFA asked for more specifics so he emailed them Tabal’s micro training program on December. The programs included details such as MotorAce’s plans to send Tabal to either Italy, Kenya, Japan or Australia for training. 

In December, Dueñas also said that he sent his application for the position of national coach to PATAFA to which he got a reply in February scheduling him for a written and oral exam in March. 

Dueñas took the exams but until now has yet to receive PATAFA’s decision.

After that, nothing had been communicated with regards to Tabal’s training so Borromeo decided to have her continue on the training program that Dueñas had set.

The group added that in February, Juico announced during the PSA Annual Awards that Tabal, who was among the awardees that night, would be representing the country to the SEA Games.  

This was backed up by an ABS-CBN report in April where Unso stated at a Philippine Sportswriters Forum that Tabal and Eric Cray were already shoo-ins to compete at the SEA Games.  

Borromeo said that he concluded that there was no need for him to bother anyone from PATAFA as they do not seem to have a problem anymore.

However, last Monday, June 5, PATAFA in a press conference announced that Tabal will not be part of the national team who will be competing in the upcoming SEA Games while Tabal was on her way back to the Philippines from a record-breaking performance in the Scotia Bank Ottawa Half Marathon in Canada. 

On Tuesday, June 6, Tabal said she will continue to request for a reinstatement during a press conference earlier planned by MotorAce to celebrate her achievement in Canada. –

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