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PATAFA forms 'independent administrative committee' as investigation into EJ Obiena matters continues

The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) on Tuesday said it has already formed an independent administrative committee which will be assigned to lead the investigation into the matters involving pole vaulter EJ Obiena.

In a statement, the athletics body said part of the committee's tasks is to "investigate and to come up with a report" covering the "Memorandum to Explain" that was already sent to Obiena last November 15.

"These matters emerged when PATAFA received the Apostilled Affidavit of Mr. Sergey Bubka and the written statements of Mr. Vitaliy Petrov stating that he 'DID NOT receive any monthly coach’s fees for the years 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021,'" the statement read.

"Based on the records of PATAFA, the coach’s fees of Mr. Petrov were released to Mr. Obiena since May 2018 up to August 2021, either personally or through his authorized representatives."

PATAFA added that Obiena, currently no. 6 in the world, has already submitted his written explanation to the committee in response to the memorandum.

"The Committee is presently conducting a thorough and an in-depth investigation covering the issues at hand and will release as soon as practicable its findings and recommendations."

Obiena on Sunday vehemently denied PATAFA's claims that he falsified liquidation and failed to pay his coach, Petrov, and even threatened to retire if the matter won't be settled. The 2020 Tokyo Olympian reiterated this when he organized a press conference which Petrov also attended in support of Obiena.

The matter also prompted the Senate to recall the proposed 2022 budget of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) after the agency took a "hands-off" approach into the issue.

—JMB, GMA News