Weightlifting boss asks POC: spare Juico
The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has a shot at further easing tensions in the ongoing rift between EJ Obiena and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa).
And according to the Olympic body’s former chair, Monico Puentevella, that would be by recalling the plan to brand Patafa chief Philip Ella Juico “persona non grata.”
Puentevella made the appeal to POC president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, who is expected to call to motion the ethics committee’s recommendation to censure Juico for his handling of the Obiena issue.
“Everybody has laid down their arms already, Obiena has agreed to undergo mediation, and Patafa put on hold its decision to remove him from national team,” said Puentevella, who warned the POC that the numbers might not favor the ethics committee’s recommendation.
“Remember that Bambol only won against Juico by four votes,” said Puentevella, referring to the 2019 POC elections which bares the numbers held by the main factions in the POC.
The ratification of the ethics panel’s findings will be part of the general assembly of the POC on Jan. 26, and to label an official persona non grata would require the approval of three-fourths of the body, or 38 out of 50 national sports association representatives.
Aside from the numbers, Puentevella said withdrawing the recommendation would further deescalate a row that has already drawn athletes and officials to either side of the divide.
Obiena has considerably helped in easing the controversy by agreeing to undergo mediation. Patafa, meanwhile, had previously agreed to postpone plans to drop the Tokyo Olympian from the national pool.
Puentevella, the president of the weightlifting association, which produced the country’s first Olympic champion in history through Hidilyn Diaz, said a show of good faith by the POC would matter a lot.