PATAFA, EJ Obiena mediation nearing resolution: PSC chief

MANILA – Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez on Tuesday said both pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) are now nearing a resolution that could finally put their longstanding rift to rest, a major development in their ongoing mediation.

"We are almost there," Ramirez said in PSC's first physical press conference amid the Covid-19 pandemic at its main office inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. "I've seen the softening on both sides."

If the mediation continues to have a smooth flow, Ramirez hopes that the impasse between PATAFA and Obiena will end by Friday barring an "April Fools' prank" as he said in jest since it's on April 1.

Some signs, however, are leaning toward the resolution being a legit one.

"The PATAFA leadership has agreed to some of the possible competitions to be given to EJ Obiena," Ramirez added.

The development further boosts Obiena's chances to defend his gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi from May 12-23.

Although the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has taken over the Philippine athletics team after suspending PATAFA for three months, paving the way for Obiena's inclusion, PATAFA's nod will all but seal Obiena's participation this year in the Vietnam SEA Games.

The POC will be holding its general assembly on Wednesday to decide whether it would soften its stance and lift the PATAFA suspension or not.

On the other hand, while he was not really allowed to disclose everything resolved during the mediation, Ramirez, the chief mediator between both parties, said he had to tell the reporters present at the press conference the latest updates due to the importance of the sports media in burying the hatchet between Obiena and PATAFA.

"I think the press will play a very important role. I will expect with the same partnership we have, we can work together to heal the wounds and act as one para sa bayan (for the nation)," Ramirez said. (PNA)


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