Photo from Elma Muros-Posadas’ Facebook page

Some former and present national athletes and coaches rallied behind Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) and its president Philip Juico in relation to the ongoing dispute with Olympian pole vaulter EJ Obiena.

In a signed letter dated Jan. 2, former Olympians Elma Muros-Posadas, Hector Begeo and Isidro del Prado threw in their support to Patafa and its officials “to defend this ‘eye opener of events’ that have been unfolding these past months, for the betterment of sports, particularly athletics in our country.”

“It is with sadness that super stardom as an athlete has been made ‘license’ for disrespect for authority, for dishonest dealing with money matters when liquidation has been part of our athletes’ life since, lack of transparency, and flaunting an arrogant behavior, instead of remaining humble in the face of holding a prestigious stardom status achieved from personal effort and skills trained for,” the letter read.

“On our part, stardom is no excuse, and has never been an excuse, to downplay the truth for all to know.”

Muros-Posadas is a two-time Olympian and a two-time bronze medalist in the Asian Games in long jump who also participated in seven world track events, while Begeo is a three-time Olympian, a steeplechase bronze medalist in the 1982 Asian Games and a seven-time Southeast Asian Games champion.

Del Prado, for his part, is also a two-time Olympian, a 1986 Asian Games silver medalist and a multiple Southeast Asian Games medalist in 400 and 800m events.

“We have brought glory to our country in our prime days, in the peak of our careers, and carried the Philippine colors in the international arena of sports… We have remained humble at the height of our careers then and we uphold our Filipino values of respect for authority, honesty, fairness, good sportsmanship and courage,” the letter read.

“We believe that, in time, good and truth shall triumph, and we pray that this should happen for Philippine sports to rise above this mess.”

In separate letters, 26 members of the current national team and 11 coaches also showed their support for the association and its officials.

“Sinusuportahan namin ang transparency ng Patafa sa pamumuno ni Chairman Rufus Rodriguez, President Popoy Juico at ng buong Board of Trustees. Sinusuportahan namin ang imbestigasyon kung paano ginamit ang pera dahil responsibilidad nating alagaan ang buwis ng bawat Pilipino,” the athletes’ letter read.

Among those who signed the letter were 2019 SEAG gold medalists Clinton Bautista, Aries Toledo, Melvin Calano, Sarah Dequinan and Anfernee Lopena.

“Kami ay mga coaches ng Patafa. Responsibilidad naming tulungan ang ating mga atleta na makamit ang kanilang pinakamagaling na sarili para sa kani-kanilang events. Ngunit isang malaking parte nito ay ang pagiging gabay sa paghubog ng kanilang pagkatao at pagpapanatili ng integridad ng bawat atleta na bubuhat ng bandila ng Pilipinas,” the coaches’ letter read.

“Buo an gaming suporta sa imbestigasyon kung maayos bang nagamit ang pera ng taumbayan.”

Coaches who signed the letter were Eduardo Buenavista, Jeoffrey Chua, George Posadas, Dario de Rosas, Jobert Delicano, John Philip Duenas, Arniel Ferrera, Danilo Fresnido, Seasn Guevarra, John Lozada and Julius Nierras.

Source: Manila Bulletin (