PATAFA president Philip Juico (left) and POC president Bambol Tolentino

The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) said it was not given due process in relation to the Philippine Olympic Committee’s (POC) 90-day suspension on the national sports association.

In a lengthy statement posted on social media, PATAFA said it has not received any official document on the suspension, which stemmed from the association’s refusal to endorse world-class pole vaulter EJ Obiena from high-ranked tournaments that include the recent world indoor championships.

PATAFA also clarified it has not yet acted on Obiena’s endorsement — and that it did not deny as what was being reported — since the mediation is still ongoing.

The association cited its letter dated Feb. 28, 2022 in response to Obiena’s request that it “will not act on your letter dated Feb. 24, 2022 pending completion of the mediation process organized by the PSC.”

PATAFA has been open to mediation since PSC offered it in December, while Obiena politely declined to participate twice until after the Feb. 7, 2022 Senate Committee on Sports joint with the Committee on Finance inquiry.

“In fact, EJ Obiena signed the PSC Mediation Submission Agreement only on Feb. 28, 2022 or 21 days after the said Senate hearing,” the statement read.

PATAFA also disclosed that the association and Obiena have been continuously participating in the mediation proceedings dated March 7, 2022 and March 14. 2022. The third PSC mediation will be on Monday, March 21.

The association also said “the Arbitration case being referred to is not initiatory pleading.”

“It is merely a continuation of the complaint initially filed by EJ Obiena against Dr. Philip Ella Juico which resulted in POC’s adopting Board Resolution P-2021-013 declaring him “persona non grata. Hence, the Appeal Arbitration.”

“The Appeals Arbitration before the CAS (Court of Arbitration in Sports) is the remedy specifically and clearly provided for under the POC’s very own Constitution and By-Laws.”

Despite the ongoing rift with Obiena, PATAFA said it still continues to perform its duties to its athletes and coaches preparing for future competitions.

“It has not reneged on its duty in the development of Athletics Sport in the Philippines. In fact, PATAFA has a robust Kids Athletics program which began in 2014 and which has been recognized by the World Athletics.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (