Pacquiao: Don’t waste ‘once-in-lifetime treasure’ EJ Obiena
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Manny Pacquiao has called for a peaceful resolution to the rift between Olympian EJ Obiena and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa), saying the Filipino athlete is a “once-in-lifetime treasure for Philippine sports.”
Pacquiao, a world-boxing champ-turned politician, said that “senseless conflicts” affect Filipino athletes.
“We should stop this kind of senseless conflict that ultimately affects world-class athletes like EJ Obiena. As a former athlete, I fully understand the feelings of EJ who sacrificed blood, sweat, and tears just to get to where he is,” the presidential aspirant said in a statement Wednesday.
“Tulungan natin siyang magtagumpay at hindi ‘yung wawasakin pa ang kanyang mga pinaghirapan. EJ is a once-in-lifetime treasure in Philippine sports, huwag natin siyang sayangin,” he added.
(Let us help him succeed and not ruin what he has worked hard for. EJ is a once-in-lifetime treasure in Philippine sports, let’s not waste him.)
Patafa’s investigative committee earlier recommended that the country’s premier pole vaulter be dropped from the federation’s national training pool of athletes over his alleged falsification of liquidation reports with regard to payments made to coach Vitaly Petrov.
Patafa is poised to file a criminal complaint of estafa against Obiena over EUR 6,000 (P360,000) that was supposedly meant for the salary of Petrov from May-August 2018.
In turn, Obiena said he is ready to face Patafa’s charges, saying his legal team can now fully concentrate on clearing up his name and his family’s name.
The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has intervened in the feud as it laid down four demands in its attempt to help resolve the issue.
“If needed, I can offer myself and my office to the PSC so that everyone can sit down and sort this out. Huwag na po tayong maging technical dito (Let us not be technical here),” Pacquiao said.
“Ayusin na lang natin ito nang sa gayon ay makapag-ensayo na sa EJ sa kanyang mga susunod na laban,” he added.
(Let us fix this so EJ can prepare for his next competitions.)