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Obiena opts out of PSC-led mediation due to ‘bad faith’ by Juico, PATAFA

January 24, 2022 - Monday 7:01 PM by GDM

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TOKYO Olympic Games veteran and pole vaulter Ernest Joh Obiena has formally withdrawn his participation in the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) mediation offer to settle his differences with his national sports association.  

In a statement released by his spokesperson lawyer Robert Bruce, Obiena says he will no longer take part in the mediation “due to the bad faith of Mr. (Philip) Juico and the Philippines Athletics Track and Field Association  or PATAFA.”

“It is a recipe for failure to enter into mediation with one party is in BAD FAITH; PATAFA was in bad faith this whole time as they signed the mediation with their true intention to still pursue the filing of a baseless criminal case of ESTAFA against me. PATAFA has said they want a peaceful resolution, but their actions prove this as a LIE. You cannot have peace while pointing a gun at the other guys’s head, and say “let’s have a peaceful resolution”. This is the exact opposite of good faith mediation,” Obiena said. 

The PSC offered to mediate between Obiena and the PATAFA November last year  after the NSA accused Obiena of mishandling payments  to his coach, Vitaly Petrov of Ukraine.  PATAFA eventually recommend Obiena be dropped from the national training pool.

 Petrov has since clarified that this was not the case and accused PATAFA of using him against his ward. 

“They have been telling the public that Sergey Bubka voluntarily executed his affidavit. They omitted the fact that it was Mr. Juico  who prepared the affidavit of Sergey Bubka, instructed him to get it apostilled, paid all associated costs, and cajoled him to sign. They tried the same thing with my coach, Vitaliy Petrov. Using this, they have been manipulating the people into believing their statements that I have not been paying my coach. We have always called this a witch hunt. And clearly it is,” Obiena said.

He also clarified that as early 2020, he has already emailed Petrov’s bank details to PATAFA so that they can directly forward payments to him. But what really got Obiena’s ire is when PATAFA even harassed his mother.

“On top of all false accusations they even went as low as to attack my own mother! Where is the dignity and respect in that? I do not believe I can enter into any mediation with people who are seemingly focused on destroying me. For me, hurling multiple false accusations, hiding information and lying are not the framework for good faith and mediation. They used friends, relatives and fellow athletes as pawns of their aggression,” Obiena added.

Despite his withdrawal from the mediation, Obiena expressed his gratitude to PSC Chair Butch Ramirez for his efforts to help him settle his difference with Juico and PATAFA.

“I believe in mediation as a tool for peace and have full trust and confidence in the integrity of Chairman Butch Ramirez. Unfortunately, it seems that PATAFA is only using mediation as means to silence me and to keep the truth hidden. They always trumpet that I should go to mediation if I have nothing to hide. I have nothing to hide and that is the reason why I do not want to go to confidential mediation. Darkness is the home of the oppressor. I want the truth out in public, the same public where I was judged as guilty without due process by Mr. Juico,” Obiena said.

Obiena likewise reiterated that he doesn’t jump for Juico and the PATAFA. “I do not jump for Mr. Philip Ella Juico or the PATAFA. I jump for my beloved country, PHILIPPINES. Ako si EJ Obiena, Filipino Pole Vaulter. Tumatalon LAMANG para sa Pilipinas at para sa aking mga kababayan.”

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