OLYMPIC pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena has withdrawn from the mediation table put forth by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), citing that the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) and its president, Philip Ella Juico, are acting in bad faith.

In a statement that he posted on his social media pages on Monday morning, Jan. 24, 2022, the University of Santo Tomas product accused the Patafa of “only using mediation as means to silence me and to keep the truth hidden.”

“It is with great regret that I am forced to officially withdraw from the PSC offer of mediation due to the bad faith of Mr. Juico and Patafa,” said Obiena.

“I cannot let these lies be cemented as truths. These very lies are what will push our world-class Filipino athletes away. What do world-class Filipino athletes have to lose if they are pushed away from their own nation by their own NSA?”

“I have lost faith in my NSA president but I have not lost faith in our country and our country’s true sports leaders. I trust that they will set aside politics and do what is right and good for the country. If all else fails then my NSA would have succeeded in pushing me out of the country. I would be forced to step away from Philippine Athletics. I do not jump for Mr. Philip Ella Juico or the Patafa. I jump for my beloved country, the Philippines,” he added.

Obiena said the Patafa has not been disseminating the entire truth, most recently in its media appearance on Jan. 4 when it released selected e-mails and revealed incomplete message exchanges to the public.

“Where is the dignity and respect in that? I do not believe I can enter into any mediation with people who are seemingly focused on destroying me. For me, hurling multiple false accusations, hiding information and lying is not the framework for good faith and mediation. They used friends, relatives, and fellow athletes as pawns of their aggression,” said Obiena.

“These actions are despicable and have no place in sports especially in Philippine Sports. The problem may seem personal but I am hopeful that the solution would be structural. I want to work with an NSA that prioritizes values, integrity, and winning medals for our country. Supporting the athlete as a mission, as what good sports leaders do. I am not here to create chaos in Philippine sports but I fight because I don’t want this to ever happen again to any Filipino athlete. Marami na tayong nasayang.”