Patafa chief Philip Juico

Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) president Philip Juico hit back at EJ Obiena’s coach, Vitaly Petrov, and denied accusations that he “misled” the Ukrainian mentor regarding the inquiries on the alleged non-payment of his coaching fees.

In his latest statement, Juico said he did not pressure Petrov into signing a statement that led to an internal probe.

“How can Petrov be pressured, coerced, misled or tricked by me or Patafa when we are not even in the same continent or time zones!” Juico said.

“How can I exercise any form of moral ascendancy over Petrov, when on the contrary, Patafa and I had expressed our thanks to him for training Obiena and accepting Obiena through a scholarship program I myself work on together with Sergey Bubka (who was present in all conversations I had with Petrov with respect to the unpaid fees)?”

Juico was referring to Bubka, an International Association of Athletics Federations Hall of Famer who was once Petrov’s stalwart and was now an official of World Athletics and Ukraine’s national Olympic Committee.

Juico also questioned Obiena’s statement last Nov. 21 where he said “No such letter exists,” only now for Petrov to deny his participation in such a document and even felt pressured into it, as what the Ukrainian coach claimed.

A former Philippine Sports Commission chairman, Juico challenged people questioning their actions and his sole intention in this issue.

“Why would Petrov, Sergey and I invent such a story? How could I sustain an elaborate web of deception and lies with the participation of such an honorable person like Sergey Bubka, assuming Petrov was pressured into signing his statement?” Juico said.

“Petrov knows the truth. He knew and appreciated my help and even encouraged me to report his and Sergey Bubka’s statements to the Patafa board to help recover his unpaid fees. I promised him and Sergey I would help recover the missing fees because, as Sergey Bubka said, it was embarrassing to the Philippines.”

Juico said he is constrained to speak out after Petrov’s last and official statement was released to the media recently.

He, however, assured the Philippine Sports Commission that Patafa is committed to the government sports agency and its chairman Butch Ramirez in the mediation process.

PSC has demanded both parties to handle the issue privately and has given until Dec. 15 to submit the signed Mediation Agreement concerning their ongoing dispute.

Source: Manila Bulletin (