December 9, 2023


News and Information

CEBU CITY — The Philippine Olympic Committee has spoken; Philippine Track and Field Association (PATAFA) president Philip Ella Juico is no longer welcome at POC.

POC president Bambol Tolentino has approved the recommendation of the Ethics Committee headed by Rowing president Patrick Gregorio to declare Juico “persona non grata” after Olympian pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena filed a harassment case against Juico to the POC committee.

The case steamed from the allegation that Obiena failed to pay his Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov his salary worth 85,000 euros since 2018. Obiena complained that Juico maliciously accused him of squandering government funds intended for Petrov, and acted in a reckless manner treating him like a criminal without any proper investigation. quoted Tolentino saying, “we are not removing Juico as president of PATAFA, and neither are we suspending him.

We just don’t recognize him as PATAFA president. We do recognize the Patafa as an NSA (national sports association) under the POC. Patafa can still do its daily businesses with the POC,.” Juico however was unfazed of this action.

In his text reply to Inquirer writer June Navarro, the track and field chief said, “I am more amazed at how people can just ignore objective facts and truth.

No, not worried (on the persona non grata issue). With this recent development, Obiena may now continue in representing the country.

Even if PATAFA won’t give him the blessing, POC will give him the authority to carry the Philippine flag. However, the approval of the Executive Board decision has to be ratified by the General Assembly to be in effect.

Eleven of 14 of the POC executive board members have voted for the ethics committee recommendation. IOC representative Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski and board member Charlie Ho abstained while chairman Steve Hontiveros did not attend the meeting. Tolentino was further quoted that this is an extraordinary case since Obiena is an Olympian, a world-class athlete and has a bright future in his field.

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