Fri. May 27th, 2022


Philippines' Ernest John Obiena competes during the indoor men's pole vault Beijer gala event in Uppsala, Sweden, on February 9, 2022.

FILE–Philippines’ Ernest John Obiena competes during the indoor men’s pole vault Beijer gala event in Uppsala, Sweden, on February 9, 2022. (Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP)

MANILA, Philippines–The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) said on Friday it wasn’t afforded due process in the executive board meeting of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) that led to the suspension of the national federation.

In a statement from Patafa spokesperson Cristy Ramos, the Patafa also clarified several issues that led to its suspension from the POC and countered the Olympic body’s plans to supervise its national team.

“It must be noted that the law creating the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), R.A. (Republic Act) No. 6847, states that it is only the NSA (national sports association) that can form national teams,” read the Patafa statement. “PATAFA is fully recognized and supported by the World Athletics as the sole governing body of the Athletics sport in the Philippines. This fact was affirmed by no less than the World Athletics President Sebastián Coe in his letter dated February 10, 2022.”

In that letter to the federation, Coe said he supported the autonomy of the Patafa to handle issues within its backyard.

Posted by Philippine Athletics Track And Field Association on Thursday, March 17, 2022

The POC’s executive board suspended the Patafa and the Philippine Tennis Association (Philta) on Thursday on various grounds and said it was taking over supervision of the national teams of both federations, particularly in preparation for the coming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. The POC general assembly is expected to ratify the decision on March 30.

“We don’t want to compromise the participation of our athletes in the SEA Games,” Tolentino told the Inquirer on Thursday. “Once ratified, the activities of Patafa and Philta national athletes and coaches will be directly under the supervision of the POC.”

The decision is expected to salvage the SEA Games title defense of EJ Obiena, whose ongoing rift with the Patafa is at the heart of the federation’s suspension.

The Patafa dropped Obiena from its national roster pending the result of an ongoing mediation handled by the PSC. The POC cited the Patafa’s noninclusion of Obiena in the SEA Games delegation and its refusal to endorse the world No. 5 for international meets, which cost the Tokyo Olympian a trailblazing appearance in the world indoor championships in Serbia, as some of the reasons for sanctioning the federation.

“PATAFA did not refuse to endorse EJ Obiena in international competitions. In the PATAFA letter dated February 28, 2022, PATAFA responded to EJ Obiena that it ‘will not act on your letter dated February 24, 2022 pending completion of the mediation process organized by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC),’” the statement read. “The deferral of any action on EJ Obiena’s letter is consistent with the directive of the Senate Committee to undergo mediation, which PATAFA is currently participating in.”

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