POC executive board declares Patafa’s Juico persona non grata

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THE executive board of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has signed off on the recommendation of the Ethics Committee to declare Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) chief Philip Ella Juico as persona non grata for his role in creating the highly publicized controversy involving beloved Olympic pole vaulter, Ernest John “EJ” Obiena.

“The POC approved the recommendation of the Ethics Committee declaring Juico as persona non grata,” said POC president Bambol Tolentino after the POC executive board meeting at the East Ocean Seafood Restaurant in Pasay City.

“We do not recognize him anymore as president of Patafa until the new election of its president.”

Tolentino added that the Patafa maintains the POC’s recognition as the national association for the sport despite the sanction imposed on Juico. He added that all of the association’s officers are also all recognized by the POC.

The sanction comes after the end of the investigation conducted by the Ethics Committee, which concluded that Juico “harassed” Obiena by making “malicious public accusations.”

The committee report said that Obiena, a finalist at the Tokyo Olympics and Asian men’s record holder, was accused and maligned publicly by Juico through the media in November for allegedly falsifying his liquidation report on his Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov’s salaries.

The report added that the accusations on Obiena insinuated theft.

Rowing association president Patrick Gregorio heads the Ethics Committee. Eleven of the 15-member POC executive board approved the committee recommendation, which will be ratified by the General Assembly in its January meeting.

POC honorary president Ricky Vargas, first vice president Al Panlilo, second vice president Richard Gomez, treasurer Cynthia Carrion-Norton, auditor Joaquin Loyzaga, and board members David Carter, Dr. Jose Raul Canlas and Pearl Managuelod favored the recommendation, along with Athletes’ Commission head Nikko Huelgas and Secretary-General Edwin Gastanes.

Charlie Ho of netball and International Olympic Committee Representative to the Philippines Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski abstained. Tolentino also didn’t vote as he presided over the meeting in the absence of chairman Steve Hontiveros.

Juico is the second NSA official to be declared persona non grata after Go Teng Kok, who was also the Patafa president when then POC chief Jose Cojuangco Jr. slapped the sanction in 2011.

The POC, Tolentino said, assured the 26-year-old Obiena that he will represent the country in various overseas competitions in 2022, including the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi in May and the 19th Asian Games in Guangzhou in September.

“If Patafa won’t endorse him, which I doubt they will, then we will,” Tolentino said.

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