‘Petrov knows the truth’: Patafa chief Philip Juico denies coercing Obiena coach
MANILA, Philippines—Philip Ella Juico, president of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association, on Thursday denied the “witch hunt” accusations that pole vaulting coach Vitaly Petrov made regarding the finances involving his payment for training EJ Obiena.
In a statement, Juico belied Petrov’s statements claiming that he coerced the Ukrainian coach into giving answers favorable toward the side of Patafa.
Juico even said that such claims would be absurd as he and Petrov are living in different time zones with the latter living in Italy with Obiena.
“How can Petrov be pressured, coerced, misled, or tricked by me or PATAFA when we are not even in the same continent or time zones! Obiena is, on the other hand, with him probably 12 hours a day, every day up to Saturday and with whom he goes hiking as Obiena announces in Facebook,” wrote Juico.
Petrov, on Wednesday, said he never complained about his pay and that while some of his stipend did arrive late but it was due to Patafa’s negligence.
The legendary pole vaulting coach added that it was Juico who construed a questioning process that would put Obiena in a bad light.
“There is no doubt that sometimes EJ has paid me late, and sometimes in irregular tranches and he explained to me that this is caused primarily by Patafa sending his allowance and my payments months-late… I know that the money is late because of Patafa’s inefficiency. As said, I coach because I love coaching. I don’t focus on these matters,” said Petrov.
“First, I have been fully paid by EJ Obiena. Secondly, I have no issues with EJ Obiena. Thirdly, I never reached out to Patafa and I never initiated any complaint against EJ Obiena. Fourth, I was misled by the proactive questioning of Philip Ella Juico and I mistakenly answered his questionnaire according to the way he wanted me to which is to make EJ Obiena look like a criminal,” added Petrov.
Juico maintained that there was no way for him to have done what Petrov accused him of and that he never pressured the trainer to signing any questionnaires.
“Petrov knows the truth. He knows and appreciated my help and even encouraged me to report his and Sergey Bubka’s statements to the PATAFA board to help recover his unpaid fees,” wrote Juico.
How could I sustain an elaborate web of deception and lies with the participation of such an honorable person like [National Olympic Committee of Ukraine President] Sergey Bubka, assuming Petrov was pressured into signing his statement. How does Petrov prove that? By reenacting his act of signing with his signing hand shaking from fear?”
Back in November, Patafa ordered Obiena to return €85,000 (roughly P4.8 million) for alleged falsification of documents and failing to pay Petrov.