Filipino star pole vaulter EJ Obiena has acquired the services of a legal team for his ongoing dispute with the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) over the salary of his Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov.
Obiena on Sunday, November 28, said he has tapped lawyer Alex Avisado and the Gana Atienza Avisado Law Offices as his legal counsel.
Also, Obiena has appointed his mentor Jim Lafferty and lawyer Bobbet Bruce as his official spokespersons.
The current Asian record holder found himself embroiled in controversy after PATAFA ordered him to return 85,000 euros (around P4.5 million) in funds intended for Petrov.
According to PATAFA president Philip Juico, Petrov told the federation that he was not being paid his salary since 2018.
Juico added PATAFA has a signed document from Petrov detailing his salary concerns, but the Ukrainian mentor has belied these claims.
Moreover, while Obiena admitted to late payments to Petrov, Juico said records show that the 26-year-old paid his coach only this November, inconsistent to liquidation forms he submitted in previous years.
Obiena has filed a case against the PATAFA before the Philippine Olympic Committee Athletes Commission and Safe Sports Technical Working Group bordering on “psychological abuse” and “bullying,” among others.
As Obiena and PATAFA continue to stand by their versions of the truth, the Philippine Sports Commission has taken the role of mediator in an attempt to repair the rift between the two parties. – Rappler.com