THE Ernest John Obiena issue has shifted to a legal battle.
The Tokyo Olympian pole-vaulter is planning to ask the help of the court of law in proving his innocence over allegations by the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) that he falsified liquidations and failed to pay coaching fees of Ukrainian Vitaly Petrov.
“I will clear my name. I will raise all legal challenges and I want this to be put into a court of law where all evidence must be exposed,” said Mr. Obiena in his recent social media post.
The World No. 5 lashed out at PATAFA for leaking a statement by former world and Olympic champion Sergey Bubka saying he has nothing to do with the issue and has no knowledge regarding his transactions with Mr. Petrov.
“This seems legitimate. But it also reads clearly that PATAFA somehow construed this entire case and cajoled Bubka into making this statement,” said Mr. Obiena. “Simple question: What does the president of the Ukraine Olympic Committee have to do with this case?
“He is a great champion that I look up to, but he knows nothing of the situation between myself, my coach, and Philippine athletics, and plays no role with my team.
“It is confusing that he got somehow involved,” he added.
Even though the impasse is getting worse, Mr. Obiena is still entertaining hopes of settling the issue amicably even if he feels PATAFA doesn’t want to.
“I am willing to ‘make peace’ on this case, but I must have my good name cleared. I do not hold out much hope. It is clear that I am not wanted by my federation in any shape or form,” said Mr. Obiena.
“I am attacked without any due process and now narrative and accusations have somehow changed. I am cut from funding and left figuring it out somehow here in Italy. I am destroyed mentally. And the attacks keep coming. Clearly, I am not wanted,” he added. — Joey Villar