Patafa to drop EJ Obiena from national team, file estafa case
MANILA, Philippines—EJ Obiena is facing expulsion from the Philippine national team.
The Philippine Athletics and Track and Field Association (Patafa) investigative committee has recommended that the Tokyo Olympian be dropped from the federation’s National Training Pool of Athletes “effective immediately.”
A criminal complaint of estafa is also set to be filed by PATAFA against Obiena over EUR 6,000 (P360,000) meant for the salary of the pole vault star’s coach Vitaly Petrov from May 2018 to August 2018.
“The report brought so much sadness and feelings of betrayal but we had to face the challenge because as professionals we should account for all the funds, government and private, given to us. We have a fiduciary responsibility over Patafa showing of all moral, ethical considerations which our present times consider less important than winning or making money,” said Patafa president Philip Ella Juico on Tuesday in a press conference.
“So the board has accepted all the recommendations of the administrative committee that includes removing the 26-year-old young man, who knew the consequences of what he was doing as he repeatedly produced those spurious documents,” he added.
Patafa is also set to file a complaint against Petrov before the World Athletics for “violation of the Integrity Code of Conduct” and immediately terminate his role as the federation’s coach.
Obiena’s backer and adviser James Lafferty will also be declared as persona non grata by the federation.
The committee also found that Obiena “misappropriated” the amount of EUR 61,026.80 (P3,661,608) released to him by the Patafa and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) intended for the coaching fee of Petrov.
Likewise, Obiena’s mother Jeanette, was also accused of misappropriating the amount of P624,116.76 “she claimed from the PSC under pretext that it is a reimbursement of the coaching fee paid to Mr. Petrov for the months of January 2019 to March 2019.”
“He (Obiena) now has to face the consequences,” said Juico.
Obiena, ranked sixth in the world, is the Asian record holder at 5.93m.