Philippine Sports Commission set to mediate in PATAFA-Obiena row

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Philippine Sports Commission set to mediate in PATAFA-Obiena row
EJ Obiena in a photo from his official Instagram account on July 18, 2021.
Instagram / ernestobienapv

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Sports Commission is expected to be the mediator between the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) and Olympian EJ Obiena amid their row surrounding liquidations of financial aid.

Apart from the Philippine Olympic Committee's ethics committee already looking into the issue where PATAFA alleged late payment of Obiena's coach Vitaly Petrov, the PSC will be heading a mode of "alternative dispute resolution" through a Mediation Submission Agreement forwarded to both parties on Thursday.

Through PSC Chairman William "Butch" Ramirez, the sports body will assist both PATAFA and Obiena in resolving the row "speedily and amicably".

Ramirez himself expressed worry over the situation right now as statements from both sides have aggravated the relationship between the federation and one of its top athletes.

"The role of mediator is merely to facilitate communication, identify issues, and help the parties arrive at a settlement. My role as mediator is not to decide who is right or wrong. We are after a win-win for both sides," Ramirez said.

"The goal is to preserve relationships of disputing parties," he added.

Obiena and PATAFA, through its chief Phillip Ella Juico, have already made statements in the past couple of days which have left their relation in shambles.

Ramirez, eager to salvage the bond between federation and athlete, hopes to resolve the issue sooner rather than later.

"I am worried about them both. EJ is carrying this burden all alone overseas, away from family and friends. I am concerned about Mr. Juico’s health. The earlier we can sit down and talk, the earlier we can resolve this," he said.

Earlier this week, the PSC had already asked both Obiena and PATAFA to refrain from making public statements in order to avoid any more rift before the PSC can mediate.

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