PSC sounds alarm on delay of EJ Obiena-PATAFA mediation

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 29) — The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has expressed alarm over the delay in the mediation process between pole vaulter EJ Obiena and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA).

PSC Chairperson Butch Ramirez on Monday said Obiena and PATAFA have yet to return the Mediation Submission Agreement provided by the national sports agency.

Ramirez gave Obiena and PATAFA until Dec. 15 to submit their signed agreement to begin the mediation process.

"Mediation is the best option for now so the parties can reconcile, open communication lines, and continue the work that needs to be done. The parties owe it to the government and the Filipino people to resolve the issues amicably," Ramirez said in a statement.

PATAFA president Philip Juico earlier said there's no need for the PSC to mediate in the issue involving Obiena.

"In the first place, there's no need for mediation because no one is fighting. We just said we discovered something, that his coach and sponsor did not receive payment," Juico told CNN Philippines' Sports Desk last Nov. 25.

PATAFA has accused Obiena of embezzling funds after he allegedly failed to pay over ₱4.8 million in coaching fees of Ukrainian mentor Vitaly Petrov.

The multi-medalled pole vaulter denied PATAFA's accusations and threatened to break away from the national team due to harassment.

RELATED: EJ Obiena denies not paying Ukrainian coach, threatens to 'immediately' retire 

Obiena also blasted the national athletics federation of giving him the burden to pay Petrov, while admitting that he made late payments to his coach due to his commitments as an athlete.

RELATED: Obiena blasts PATAFA for not paying coach directly, admits late payments 

The PSC also ordered Obiena and PATAFA to refrain from issuing public statements amid its initiative to settle the issues between the two sides. 

The Philippine Olympic Committee is also investigating the rift between Obiena and PATAFA.

On Sunday, Obiena posted his winning clearance at the 2019 Summer Universiade held in Napoli, Italy to thank those who support him in his fight with PATAFA.

"These are exceedingly tough times, and I am thankful for the all the people who are standing by me. Maraming salamat po (Thank you very much). I am indebted to you all," said Obiena.