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MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) questioned a new complaint submitted by the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) involving the POC and pole vault star EJ Obiena.
In the new complaint submitted last February 11 to the arbitration court sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the PATAFA cited the POC’s alleged breach of jurisdiction on its funding row with Obiena, the dismissal of Obiena’s POC case with its Athletes Commission, and the withdrawal of Juico’s persona non grata sanction.
POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino slammed the new case, which was filed just four days after the Philippine Senate urged Obiena and the PATAFA to go through with their long-postponed mediation regarding their issues with each other.
“What happened to the truce forged through the Senate? The mediation that both parties, Obiena and the PATAFA agreed on before our honorable Senators?” Tolentino said in a statement on Wednesday, March 2.
“Where’s the good faith there? The POC thought they were for mediation, and even EJ already agreed to the procedure.”
Last February 7, through the urging of four senators in a public inquiry, Obiena gave in to the idea of mediation between his camp and PATAFA after previously being reluctant due to alleged “bad faith” by his own national sports association (NSA).
Since November, the two sides have drawn out to the public their issues originally stemming from funds misappropriation. Both have reached an impasse after Obiena refused to undergo a mediation brokered by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) due to the aforementioned reason.
However, this new case puts another speed bump on the road to reconciliation, and the POC executive board has now authorized Tolentino to hire a lawyer, appoint a CAS juror, and allocate “undetermined” fees for the defense.
Per POC chief legal counsel Atty. Wharton Chan, the POC “could not be cited on issues over jurisdiction on the Obiena case” because the POC “is not a judicial body but a corporate one, and the focal issue is on the attitude and unethical conduct on Obiena’s complaint of harassment against PATAFA.”
“The CAS asked for more evidences from the PATAFA such as proof of notices, among others,” Chan added.
The CAS was created by the IOC “to bring about the resolution of sports-related disputes which are submitted to it through ordinary arbitration or through appeal against the decisions of sports bodies or organizations.”
It now remains to be seen whether or not this new case dragging the POC back into the mix further prolongs the mediation process between Obiena and his NSA.
To date, Obiena has not been reinstated as a member of the national team pool recommended by PATAFA, which therefore puts his competition status for the 2022 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and other international tournaments in doubt. – Rappler.com