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EJ Obiena: Sinusuka ako ng PATAFA

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Filipino pole vaulter EJ Obiena became less optimistic in finding a resolution to the issue after the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) “shifted” the allegations.

To recall, Obiena has been accused by PATGA of falsifying liquidation documents and failing to pay the monthly salary of his Ukrainian coach Vitaliy Petrov.

EJ Obiena’s coach: Binayaran ako ng tama

Despite Obiena and Petrov’s denial of the allegations, the PATAFA refuses to drop the investigation.

“I am personally shocked at the recent statement and shifting allegations of PATAFA. From their written letters of accusing me of embezzlement; to suddenly changing it to timing of payments?” the statement read. “PATAFA accused me, in writing, of committing serious crimes of embezzlement and outright “theft” of monies intended for my coach, Vitaliy Petrov.”

EJ Obiena on PATAFA’s allegations of not paying his coach: Magreretiro ako!

“After Vitaliy himself appeared live in the press conference on November 20, refuting these allegations, now they suddenly change the written accusations. Instead of admitting they were wrong, they now change the subject: Now the issue is, apparently, I perhaps did not pay Petrov ‘on-time,’” Obiena said. “That’s a long way from embezzlement and theft that they accused me of. I am not a lawyer, but as far as I know, paying late isn’t a crime. I have already admitted I am a pole vaulter—not an accountant.”

Obiena admitted that he, sometimes, fails to pay Petrov on time, due to the fact that he has to juggle his responsibility as an athlete and as a paymaster for his team — an issue that the Tokyo Olympian has already brought to PATAFA up to no avail.

Obiena, who recently shattered the Asian record last September, felt that he is “not wanted by the federation” and he hopes to move on from this situation.

“I am willing to make peace on this case but I must have my good name cleared. I do not hold out much hope. It is clear I am not wanted by my federation in any shape or form. I am attacked without any due process and now narrative and accusations have somehow changed,” he said. “I am cut from funding and left figuring it out somehow here in Italy. I am destroyed mentally and reputationally. And the attacks keep coming. Clearly, I am not wanted.”

“I am human like anyone else, These situations can destroy people and their motivation. Who would not be severely impacted by this situation? I will complete the PWC Audit, and I will finalize my legal recurse avenues,” added the world No. 5 pole vaulter. “Just say the word, and I will formally retire from Philippines Athletics and being any part of PATAFA. Clearly, they or he doesn’t want me in the program based on their actions now and before. There can be no other objective to all these attacks. Let’s just say it and we all move on.”