PATAFA – Obiena rift worsens

By February 6, 2022Sports Eye

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.


IT’s so sad to know that the months-old Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) rift against its national athlete, the Asian record holder Ernest John Obiena, is still unresolved until now. And more, a legal battle looms despite the Philippine Sports Commission ‘s efforts to mediate to resolve the rift. Yes, it’s from bad to worse with dire consequences for Philippine sports especially in the coming Southeast Asia Games in May and the Asian Games in September where experts say that the Tokyo Olympian Obiena is sure to win the gold medal in both games, being the Asian record holder of the event and the 5th best in the world.

Obiena had decided to remove himself from the jurisdiction of PATAFA and will align, work with and now avail himself of complete assistance assured by his patrons, close friends, and the national governing body of all athletes in the land, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) headed by president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino. Both groups are now in conflicting positions because of Obiena. His patrons are expected to back his training, medical needs, maintenance, to name some, with POC at the helm in his upcoming competitions.

Recall that the brouhaha started when Obiena was accused by PATAFA of anomalous disbursements, particularly his alleged non-payment and delayed remittances of fees to his Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov’. Obiena admitted that he only paid his coach in three tranches late last year. The Commission on Audit (COA) as requested by PATAFA is conducting a special audit of the transactions. PATAFA, being the governing body of the sport, has the right to endorse an athlete for funding and monthly allowance coming from the Philippine Sports Commission cache.

Then when PATAFA announced it was cutting ties with Obiena, it’s what Obiena wanted.. POC intervened upon the request of Obiena who sought refuge in the POC. The Olympic body muddled up the issue by promising to support Obiena’s training and participation after Obiena said he can still represent our country in any International Olympic Committee (IOC) sanctioned events under the direction of POC, a function exclusively to NSAs like the PATAFA. I, too, believe that Obiena is a sure winner in the SEA Games and also a sure medalist in this year’s Asian Games. POC president Tolentino had reason to point out that the Obiena experience should serve as a “warning case” to NSAs and their athletes.

So, Obiena is now officially out from his mother federation PATAFA and surprisingly PATAFA has indicated that it is not dropping a planned lawsuits against him whom it accused of misappropriating government funds and filing false liquidation reports. Meanwhile, my source said that the PSC will refocus its efforts in scrutinizing the liquidation reports along with the COA. It hired an independent body to resolve this long-running dispute.

About the POC-PATAFA differences, I’m not really aware if POC can send any of our national athlete to compete in any IOC-sanctioned event without the official recommendation of their respective NSA.  Let me try to research that rule.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” MARK 11: 25-26

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