POC lifts ‘persona non grata’ vs Philip Juico, withdraws Patafa ban
MANILA, Philippines–The Philippine Olympic Committee Executive Board on Monday lifted the persona non grata tag of athletics chief Philip Ella Juico and withdrew the suspension of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association.
POC president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino confirmed the decision of the executive board after the Patafa and pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena finally resolved their differences in a mediation facilitated by the Philippine Sports Commission.
The POC declared Juico, the Patafa president, persona non grata more than two months ago due to his rift with Obiena, the world’s No. 5 vaulter and Asian record-holder.
The local Olympic body eventually moved to suspend Patafa, but the POC executive board decided not to bring it up to the POC general assembly last week following the positive turn of events during the mediation brokered by PSC Chairman William “Butch” Ramimez.
The back and forth squabble between Patafa and Obiena ran for nearly six months triggered by the liquidation woes the track association levied against its star athlete.
With Obiena and Patafa settling matters, Obiena got the green light to defend his title in the coming 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam next month.
An Inquirer source revealed that Patafa and Obiena are now going through the process of healing with the athletics body setting up a digital gathering for its national athletes, including Obiena.
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