Netizens expressed their anger at the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association’s (PATAFA) decision to drop Asian record holder and Olympic pole vaulter EJ Obiena from the national team, after a heated dispute on sports funding.
This will prevent Obiena from representing the Philippines in international competitions.
PATAFA’s decision to expel the 26-year-old athlete, currently ranked third in the world, is the latest development in the word war after the Philippine Olympic Committee’s ethics committee declared PATAFA president Philip Juico as “persona non grata.”
PATAFA’s investigative committee submitted six recommendations, including filing a criminal complaint of estafa over 6,000 euros, the amount of coaching salaries allotted for Vitaly Petrov between May to August 2018.
The national track federation will also drop Petrov as national team coach and will submit a complaint against World Athletics for the violation of the Integrity of Code of Conduct, while James Michael Lafferty, Obiena’s backer, will be declared “persona non grata.”
The latest developments angered netizens, who took to social media to express their dismay while supporting Obiena to secure another citizenship.
In the Philippines, this is how you get rewarded for being the World No. 3! Pathetic!
The likes of PATAFA is one of the reasons why Sports will never develop/grow in the Philippines. 🤦🏻 https://t.co/zRFEPdt9KR
— Zeth Lorenzo Samson (@AdobongpuZETH) January 4, 2022
I really won't be shocked kung iba na kulay ng passport ni EJ next olympics. Trash behavior PATAFA https://t.co/xLk3aoc4Zy
— buddy (@maggie_rsls) January 4, 2022
EJ Obiena is literally ranked #6 in the world! Imagine dropping someone like Roger Federer from the Swiss national tennis team – it’s the same gravity as that! Obiena is one of the best pole vaulters in the world, and this is what PATAFA will do to him??? https://t.co/AwjUwFDkRy
— Jecon Dreisbach (@jecondraysbak) January 4, 2022
i say thank you ej obiena for your nationalism and love for our country but if they will keep on slandering you like this, go ahead and accept the naturalization offers from other countries na. you deserve so much better. we’ll support you! #DropPATAFA #DropJuico
— K 🎀 (@iamklhd) January 4, 2022
This is fucking ridiculous. The POC should yank PATAFA's accreditation as a sports governing body, and form a new one for athletics that is not staffed by utter shitheads. https://t.co/zHlXKpoxwP
— Ben Kritz (@benkritz) January 4, 2022
WORLD NUMBER 6, CURRENT HOLDER NG ASIAN POLE VAULT RECORD, THE ONLY ASIAN IN THE FINAL ROUND SA 2020 OLYMPICS
Sure kayo? Tatanggalin niyo siya national team natin?
The allegations better be worth it PATAFA.
THIS COUNTRY IS HOPELESS https://t.co/j8quYoDaoj
— A 🍓Stan SB19 for clear skin (@Capital_A__) January 4, 2022
PATAFA choosing to drop EJ Obiena is indicative of how little this country cares about its athletes and governing bodies are surprised that athletes choose to rep other countries.
"Puso" and "Pinoy Pride" are not enough to compensate the hard work they've put in to their craft.
— Karl Batungbacal (@BlackMambito24) January 4, 2022
Wesley So and EJ Obiena represent so many Filipinos who wanted to stay in the country but were driven away by the corruption and incompetence.
— Gideon Lasco (@gideonlasco) January 4, 2022
Obiena has yet to publicly respond on the issue.