MANILA – The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has set a deadline for both EJ Obiena and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) to agree upon the parameters set for the mediation process.
As approved by the PSC board during its meeting on Monday, both PATAFA and Obiena have until Dec. 15 to agree to the mediation even as the tension between both sides has reached international sports communities.
“As an elder of the Philippine sports community, I am asking them to submit to mediation for their mutual benefit,” PSC chairman Butch Ramirez said.
He also believes “mediation is the best option for now so the parties can reconcile, open communication lines, and continue the work that needs to be done. The parties owe it to the government and the Filipino people to resolve the issues amicably.”
Ramirez added, “A failed mediation will be detrimental to both parties.”
Should a mediation take place, however, Obiena is expected to send at least one representative on his behalf.
Obiena on Sunday night named long-time mentor Jim Lafferty as one of his spokesmen.
In a statement, Obiena lauded Lafferty, “who has taken up the cudgels for me again and defended me in public like I was his own blood.”
Obiena also tasked Atty. Bobbet Bruce to be his other spokesman.
Bruce, according to Obiena, “has made himself available to me even at the unholiest hours in Manila even if only just to check up on me to make sure that I am alright, reminding me to continue training despite all the distractions and to continue fighting the good fight as this is not just for me but for the country.”
The assignment was made “to properly get my messaging across and officially address all pertinent questions with my current situation with my NSA (national sports association).”
The Philippine Olympic Committee is also looking to finish its probe on the feud between PATAFA and Obiena as quickly as possible.
Philippine Rowing Association chief Pato Gregorio, the chairman of the POC’s ethics committee, said that his group, which is also composed of sailing’s Ernesto Echauz and bridge’s Gerry Alquiros, and the said agency’s legal team led by Atty. Wharton Chan “have been tirelessly working to resolve the issue at the soonest possible time.”
“We are looking into this matter with utmost concern and collating pertinent information from both PATAFA and Mr. EJ Obiena to ensure due process,” he added.
While the POC looks to finish the investigation very soon, Gregorio clarified that it is taking the probe one step at a time.
“We do not want shortcuts here. What we want is to shed light on the matter and ensure that truth prevails,” he said. “We will surely update you once the decision has been made.” (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency