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POC to order ethics committee to investigate issue between EJ Obiena and PATAFA

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) on Tuesday said it will order its ethics committee to conduct an investigation into the issue involving pole vault ace EJ Obiena and his federation, the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA).

POC chief Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino cited the "hands-off" stance of the Philippine Sports Commission on the matter, saying the POC will take a different approach and will perform its own probe.

PSC earlier said it will only intervene 'when appropriate'.

“Since the PSC is the source of funds, it could have easily—under its mandate—intervened and corrected the same from the very beginning,” Tolentino said in a statement.

“?But we in the POC will be steadfast and for the sake of Olympism and impartiality, will go into the details and investigate the matter.”

Tolentino, also the cycling chief, said POC's ethics committee will be tasked to conduct the investigation as he rued the growing rift between the 26-year-old Obiena and the national sports association.

Tolentino said Obiena’s declaration of possible retirement at this stage of his budding career would be a great loss for Philippine sports.

“We are in deepest regret to realize that one of our Olympians, multi-medalist and great inspiration Ernest John Obiena of athletics, to be involved in this squabble with his home federation,” Tolentino added.

“I am very disappointed. They could have handled the situation internally absent of any misfires from both parties. A bountiful career is now in peril.”

Obiena on Sunday was reportedly being asked to return 85,000 Euros or over P4 million worth of financial assistance due to PATAFA's claims of falsified liquidation and failure of payment to his Ukrainian coach Vitaliy Petrov.

Obiena denied the allegations in a press conference the same day.

—JMB, GMA News