By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman Butch Ramirez on Tuesday expressed confidence that Olympian EJ Obiena and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) will eventually reconcile after their “word war” due to pole vaulter’s questionable liquidation records.
“Sabi ni Cong. Rufus, who is chairman of Patafa, they’re very amenable to a reconciliation,” said Ramirez during Tuesday’s guesting in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Online Forum, referring to Patafa chairman Rufus Rodriguez.
But for it to happen, all parties must completely submit to the mediation which the PSC is working on.
So far, both Obiena and Patafa have shown their willingness to sit down, talk and find solutions but have yet to sign papers that would make the mediation official.
“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.