Spare the institution

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

Someone with a heart for athletes and sports called yesterday to ask that PATAFA as an institution be spared from the squabble between PATAFA president Philip Juico and pole vaulter EJ Obiena. The quarrel is about an issue involving an improper liquidation procedure, surely a matter that can be resolved through a respectful discussion without dragging the disagreeing parties to the gutter.

It’s a disservice to PATAFA as an NSA, he said, because the mudslinging has caused a stain in the reputation of “the fine men and women officials and athletes of PATAFA.” He continued, “this was the NSA that delivered 11 gold, eight silver and eight bronze medals in the last SEA Games…that deserves some credit.” The same person said the anecdote about officials enjoying themselves in business or first class while athletes are squished in economy on the same flight should be qualified. “First, there are officials who pay for their own tickets, not the federation and second, there are officials who even pay to upgrade athletes,” he continued. “So a sweeping generalization is unfair.” However, it must also be said that there are officials whose tickets are paid for by the federation or another funding agency. In other words, there are officials who abuse and there are officials who don’t. Sports patron Jim Lafferty, who has come out to defend Obiena in this row, will certainly agree to that.

Meanwhile, Juico said a PATAFA administrative committee is investigating Obiena’s liquidation reports “that clearly state that (coach Vasiliy) Petrov had been paid in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 complete with Petrov’s alleged signatures and yet the same Petrov (and Ukrainian Olympic Committee president Sergey Bubka) insist in separate statements and affidavits that as of Sept. 9, 2021, he hadn’t been paid fees which were government funds.” Juico continued: “Last Nov. 4, 5 and 9, a few days before PATAFA sent a letter (to Obiena) to explain the discrepancy between his liquidations and Petrov’s (and Bubka’s) claim of non-payment, he announced Petrov had been paid… well and good except that, one asks, if payments to petticoat have been completed and acknowledged, why pay on Nov. 4, 5 and 9 with private funds coming from the Arab bank in Dubai (which is coincidentally Lafferty’s bank as identified by Petrov in the transaction referred to in Lafferty’s text and the same bank from where payments to Petrov in November 2020 were made)…in short, Obiena paid him twice?” Apparently, the explanation is simple – Petrov signed receipts in the past without receiving payment because Obiena had to submit receipts for reimbursement of advances he never had in the first place and when the reimbursement came, Petrov was properly paid. No big deal, Lafferty said and added that Obiena never took money from Petrov. The root of the problem was the money to pay Petrov always came late.


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