Philippine Olympic Committee

POC declares PATAFA chief Juico persona non grata following Obiena rift

Delfin Dioquino

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POC declares PATAFA chief Juico persona non grata following Obiena rift

REFUTE. Pole vault star EJ Obiena has denied the accusations of PATAFA chief Philip Juico.

Johanna Geron/Reuters

'We do not recognize [Philip Juico] anymore as president of PATAFA until the new election of its president,' says POC president Bambol Tolentino

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) no longer recognizes Philip Juico as president of the Philippine Athletics and Track and Field Association (PATAFA) after declaring him persona non grata following his rift with Filipino star pole vaulter EJ Obiena.

Juico claimed there were discrepancies regarding the liquidation of the salary Obiena paid his Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov for the last three years.

Obiena admitted to late payments, but insisted he did not pocket the money and argued that he should not have been given the responsibility to pay his coach directly.

This prompted the recommendation of the POC Ethics Committee to declare Juico persona non grata, which the Executive Board approved.

“We do not recognize him anymore as president of PATAFA [Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association] until the new election of its president,” said POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino on Tuesday, December 28, after the POC Executive Board meeting.

Following its investigation, the Ethics Committee – headed by rowing association president Patrick Gregorio – concluded that Juico “harassed” Obiena by making “malicious public accusations.”

The report also said that the accusations against Obiena, the Asian record holder, insinuated theft.

POC honorary president Ricky Vargas, first vice president Al Panlilio, second vice president Richard Gomez, treasurer Cynthia Carrion-Norton, auditor Joaquin Loyzaga and board members David Carter, Dr. Jose Raul Canlas and Pearl Managuelod, Athletes’ Commission head Nikko Huelgas, and secretary general Edwin Gastanes gave their thumbs up to the recommendation.

Netball chief Charlie Ho and International Olympic Committee representative to the Philippines Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski abstained, while Tolentino did not vote as he presided over the meeting in the absence of chairman Steve Hontiveros. 

Tolentino, though, clarified that POC still recognizes PATAFA as the national association for athletics and all of its officers

Also, Tolentino said Obiena will continue to represent the country next year, starting with the Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam in May.

“If PATAFA won’t endorse him, which I doubt they would, then we will,” Tolentino said. –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.