MANILA, Philippines — An off-the-cuff comment. That’s all it took for controversy to mild up Philippine athletics.
Throughout a cellphone dialog a month after the Olympics ended, Philippine Athletics Monitor and Discipline Affiliation (Patafa) president Philip Juico spoke to World Athletics official Sergey Bubka, a legend within the sport, who casually informed Juico a couple of want to assist with EJ Obiena’s cash issues.
That comment led to a burning subject that has left Obiena considering retirement.
The Inquirer, speaking to a number of educated sources and cobbling info from paperwork, memos and statements from events concerned, has put collectively the story of how Patafa and Obiena arrived at a breaking level which may result in a doubtlessly irreparable rift — one which began when the Patafa wrote to Obiena and reprimanded him for not paying his coach, Vitaly Petrov, regardless of being prolonged monetary help for the famend mentor’s wage.
The Inquirer reached out to Juico for readability on the problem, however he hasn’t replied at press time. Obiena, in the meantime, has aired his aspect in a press convention and in a press release launched to the media.
Nevertheless, sources, talking on the situation of anonymity as a result of the Patafa and Obiena have but to debate the issue formally for the reason that controversy erupted, informed the Inquirer that Juico, Bubka, and Petrov held an audio convention on Sept. 9.
“Popoy (Juico) needed clarification about EJ’s cash issues that Bubka intimated to him of their first one-on-one Whatsapp audio convention on Sept. 8 about EJ’s cash issues,” the supply, who was aware of the decision, mentioned.
It was at that decision that Petrov remarked about not being paid his charges, amounting to about 2,000 euros month-to-month, since 2018, the yr he took Obiena below his wing and remodeled the College of Santo Tomas star right into a world-class pole vaulter. After that assembly, Bubka signed an affidavit that might set off an investigation.
“…throughout dialog between me, Philip and Vitaliy (sic), it was discovered that Patafa paid Vitaliy (sic) (in a roundabout way), the month-to-month wage by EJ, however however, EJ claimed to Vitaliy (sic) that he didn’t obtain that cash and due to this fact didn’t give any cash to Vitaliy (sic),” Bubka’s affidavit partly learn.
“Within the dialog, Philip described the scenario that Patafa has paid Vitaliy (sic) the month-to-month payment by EJ within the quantity of two,000.00 EUR each month for the reason that starting of 2018,” Bubka additional attested.
A number of sources have informed the Inquirer that Juico convened the Patafa board on Nov. 10, after the federation’s elections, and mentioned the problem. The board mentioned Obiena had filed paperwork liquidating the cash despatched to him at instances by the federation and on different events by the Philippine Sports activities Fee (PSC), giving the impression that Petrov had been paid.
In Bubka’s affidavit, the previous world file holder mentioned Petrov obtained 4,000 euros from Obiena in 2020.
On Nov. 15, Juico, licensed by the Patafa board, wrote Obiena a letter, a duplicate of which the Inquirer managed to acquire, saying: “…it seems that authorities funds requested to help your coaching since 2018, of which you had stewardship, weren’t used for the needs during which it was supposed…”
The letter additionally instructed Obiena to return the quantity of 85,000 euros (about P4.8 million) inside 10 days of receiving the letter.
On the identical date, a Patafa committee tasked to look into the problem wrote Obiena a confidential memo, which a supply offered to the Inquirer, that partly learn: “based mostly on the written statements of Mr. Sergey Bubka and Mr. Vitaly Petrov, together with the paperwork you have got submitted to the Patafa, it seems that you falsified the liquidations submitted to the Patafa and didn’t pay the teaching charges of Mr. Vitaly Petrov within the complete quantity of Eighty-5 Thousand Euros (€85,000).”
A extremely positioned supply informed the Inquirer that Obiena had already replied to the memos, furnishing the PSC with a duplicate, and displaying paperwork that proved he had paid Petrov.
The supply mentioned it was the identical one he offered throughout his on-line press convention to refute what he mentioned had been expenses of “embezzlement” and “theft” leveled in opposition to him by the Patafa, accusations that weren’t on the paperwork obtained by the Inquirer.
Obiena did pay Petrov
In the identical press convention, Petrov categorically mentioned he had obtained cost from Obiena.
Sources revealed that Obiena had certainly paid Petrov in three tranches, on Nov. 4, 5 and 9—a number of days earlier than the Patafa fired off two memos in search of the return of what it alleged had been unpaid teaching charges.
Obiena, in a press release, admitted he fell behind in paying Petrov as a result of he was coaching arduous alone in Italy, and accounting was a job he wasn’t precisely expert at.
Why Obiena is tasked with operating his workforce’s payroll is a sticky subject that has gained totally different responses from all events.
Bubka, in his affidavit, mentioned the scenario was attributable to Obiena and mentioned the athlete “manipulated” each the Patafa and Petrov into not dealing instantly with one another.
“PATAFA agreed to this process as EJ knowledgeable PATAFA that it’s unattainable to signal any contracts with Vitaliy (sic) as a result of Vitaliy (sic) didn’t know English and already had contracts with different Federations, which prevents him from making different agreements. After all, all this was not true,” Bubka mentioned in his affidavit. “[A]s Vitaliy (sic) informed me and as I translated to Philip into English, EJ constructed a wall between them—Philip and PATAFA with Vitaliy (sic).”
However Obiena, who maintains a really shut relationship with Petrov, mentioned the setup is Patafa’s doing.
“The true query is, why doesn’t PATAFA do their job and pay the coaches instantly, permitting me to deal with coaching fairly than accounting?” Obiena mentioned in a press release. “They put all of the burden on me to carry out all administration which I really imagine just isn’t my job.”
Obiena has even requested that for his Paris Olympics preparations, Patafa instantly pay his workforce “to keep away from pointless banking charges and streamline cost process and liquidation.”
In the meantime, Patafa insiders mentioned it couldn’t pay Obiena’s coaches instantly as a result of because it was getting ready to take over the payroll of Staff Obiena, the pandemic struck. Information present that the PSC thus continued paying Petrov by Obiena. A examine for P1.7 million was ready within the identify of Obiena.
PSC chair Butch Ramirez couldn’t be reached for remark. A PSC assertion launched on Wednesday as a substitute ordered each events to chorus from issuing additional statements till after issues are resolved. The Philippine Olympic Committee has additionally mentioned it’s going to look into the problem, alarmed over Obiena’s feeling that he’s not “needed” by his federation.
Obiena has hinted that he needs peace however vowed to struggle to clear his fame. The concurrent probes may assist as they search to clear up whether or not or not there was certainly any mishandling or misreporting of presidency funds.
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