Lito A. Tacujan - The Philippine Star
PATAFA president Philip Juico.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — When it was over the man just walked away, spent from the efforts of pursuing the truth but was unscathed by the series of events that ensued.

The POC general assembly has cleared PATAFA president Philip Juico of all the charges that were thrown his way by the power-laden POC led by Rep. Bambol Tolentino. It stemmed from a simple case of reimbursement, threatening to be a major issue that alarmed the authorities and the IOC.

The POC has labeled Juico as a “persona non grata,” obviously a harassment tool not found in the POC bylaws.

It also revoked its executive board decision to suspend the athletic body for being reportedly remiss in its mandate for sports development and for not including pole vaulter EJ Obiena in the Hanoi SEA Games lineup.

The PATAFA case was buried in the “other matters” in the agenda of the POC general assembly just before adjournment the other day.

While the POC was on a roll, it basked in the glow of prime time mainstream and social media as it undermined the autonomy of an NSA and usurped its authority to endorse athletes to competition overseas.

Those accusations, particularly PATAFA’s suspension, need a thorough investigation for their far-reaching effects on POC-NSA relations, instead of disparaging it and placing it in the agenda’s “other matters.”

Obiena finally saw the futility of it all. He found out he was being used as unwilling pawn in the chessboard of partisan politics.

He made peace with the PATAFA board, and suited for the Hanoi Games and went on to defend his title. A few days back, he seized the gold in a meet in Italy.

The row between Juico and the POC-backed Obiena gained prominence as the Senate tried to review the nation’s sports budget.

That stirred up interest of the IOC for possible government intervention and, coupled with the complaint filed by Juico with the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Lausanne, the POC could find itself in a bind.

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