Patafa orders Obiena to return financial assistance
The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) has ordered pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena to return 85,000 euros (over P4.8 million pesos) in financial assistance after claiming that the Tokyo Olympian “falsified the liquidations submitted” to the federation, documents provided to the Inquirer showed on Saturday.
In a letter to Obiena, the Patafa said “based on the written statements of Mr. Sergey Bubka and Mr. Vitaly Petrov, including the documents you have submitted to the Patafa, it appears that you falsified the liquidations submitted to the Patafa and failed to pay the coaching fees of Mr. Vitaly Petrov in the total amount of Eighty-Five Thousand Euros (€85,000).”
The letter was signed by members of a committee formed to investigate the matter. The committee members could not be reached for comment.
The letter was one of two memos sent to Obiena, with the another one unsigned.
Obiena could not be reached at press time while Patafa chief Philip Juico has yet to respond to a message left by the Inquirer.
However, a knowledgeable source, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the letter containing signatures of the probing committee was marked privileged and strictly confidential, confirmed that an investigation indeed has been launched regarding the financial assistance provided to Obiena.
According to the signed letter, funding for Obiena’s training in Formia, Italy, has been suspended pending the investigation of the committee tasked to look into the issue.
A source also told the Inquirer that Obiena has already sent a response to the claim that he did not pay Petrov, the legendary pole vault coach.
The source added that Obiena also provided proof to the Patafa and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) that he paid Petrov.
The Inquirer tried to reach PSC chair Butch Ramirez, but he was unavailable at press time.