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    PATAFA wants EJ Obiena out of national training pool, charged with estafa

    MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) has recommended dropping Olympian pole vaulter EJ Obiena from the national training pool and set to file criminal complaint for estafa.

    PATAFA seeks to remove OJ Obiena from the national team
    PATAFA seeks to remove EJ Obiena from the national team and to be charged with estafa | Photo Courtesy: ABS-CBN News

    Following the investigation of Obiena's alleged misuse of funds, PATAFA's administrative committee issued their findings on the case. According to their probe, Obiena was found by the PATAFA's Investigative Committee to have misappropriated the amount of 61,026.80 euros (Php 3,661,608). The amount was released to Obiena by the PATAFA and the Philippine Sports Commission as payment for his training coach, Vitaly Petrov. There were also falsifications of documents that occured.

    PATAFA showed documents from Petrov dated October 4 and 7 saying that he has not received his coaching fees from 2018 to 2021. On the other hand, there are also documents including bank receipts showing the fund was released to Obiena as payment for his coach.

    Obiena's mother, Jeanette Obiena, who is a former PATAFA auditor was also found to have misappropriated the P624,116.76. She claimed that the amount was a reimbursement of the payment fee for Obiena's coach from January 2019 to March 2019.

    Because of the findings, PATAFA has issued its recommendations. First, they seek Obiena's removal from the national training team effective immediately. Second, a criminal complaint of estafa will be filed against Obiena.

    Meanwhile, his coach Petrov will also face a complaint before the World Athletics for violating the Integrity Code of Conduct. He will also be removed as a PATAFA coach while Obiena's adviser James Lafferty is deemed a persona non-grata.

    "The recommendations had just been made public today, so we will have to sit down and work out the mechanics and the procedures. People will have to be notified, arrangements have to be made, so it is not an instant thing that we can do,” PATAFA chief Philip Juico said.

    Recently, Juico has been declared persona non grata by the Philippine Olympic Committee following the Obiena issue.

    — Sally, The Summit Express

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