Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez on Tuesday renewed his appeal to Olympian Ernest John Obiena, the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) in the spirit of ‘humility, respect and forgiveness’ to submit to the agency’s mediation and resolve the controversy that has been hounding local sports for nearly two months now.
“Without humility from all sides – EJ (Obiena’s nickname), Patafa, and the POC, respect and forgiveness, it is impossible to resolve this dispute,” stressed Ramirez in the first online session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum of the year.
“If Obiena, Patafa and the POC is listening, I know you have your own politics there, (but) the PSC is just trying to resolve and protect the athlete and Patafa, which is a good organization like all of the NSAs (National Sports Associations),” said the PSC chief of the government sports agency’s peacemaking efforts.
Judging the action of Patafa officials, Ramirez is convinced Obiena and Patafa, headed by Philip “Popoy” Juico, will reconcile soon.
“Sabi ni Cong. Rufus, who is chairman of Patafa, they’re very amenable to areconciliation,” said Ramirez during Tuesday’s guesting in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Online Forum, referring to Patafa chairman Rufus Rodriguez.
“We really wanted them to sit down with us, that’s the only way. If they don’t want, ano magagawa namin,” said Ramirez.
In good faith, the PSC will send money (roughly P1 million) to Obiena in Italy to pay for the surgery to repair a small meniscus tear in his knee he suffered recently as well as the incentives for breaking the national and Asian records.
“We’re just waiting for EJ’s call, the money is ready. As for the incentives, it is now being processed,” said Ramirez.
“We’re doing this due to humanitarian reason, that’s why we went beyond the compass of the NSA (national sports association).”
However, the PSC, according another source, will require Obiena to submit his medical records.
Ramirez also lauded Patafa’s gesture to give its complete trust to the PSC to resolve the issue.
“Cong. Rufus, in his letter, practically told me they almost abdicated the power to the PSC to resolve the matter and we appreciate the gesture,” said Ramirez.
Obiena, Patafa and even Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino have all agreed to a ceasefire to allow the mediation to take place and put a halt to the worsening situation that had put the Philippine sports in a bad light.
“I always pray everyday before I sleep and after I wake up that this issue will be solved in a week or before the month ends,” Ramirez said. (KRISTEL SATUMBAGA)