THE Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) officially declared Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) president Philip Ella Juico persona non grata as it ratified the executive board’s earlier decision during the very first General Assembly held at the Grandmaster Hotel in Tagaytay City.

A total of 54 national sports associations (NSA) attended the event and from those, 34 voted yes including athletes’ commission member and Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz of weightlifting and swimmer Jessie Lacuna to Juico’s persona non grata’s tag.

They favored the executive board’s decision on the complaint filed by Olympic pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena against Juico for harassing a world-class Filipino athlete by making malicious public accusations against him last November.

Eleven NSAs were a “no vote,” meaning they didn’t sign the notion, while five NSAs (weightlifting, wushu, squash, athletics and hockey) opposed the motion. They were led by weightlifting president Monico Puentevella.

International Olympic Committee Representative to the Philippines Mikee Cojuangco Jaworski, and NSA heads of dancesport and netball abstained from voting.

“We are just following the procedure and there’s nothing personal here against Mr. Juico, and anytime EJ [Obiena] and Juico agreed or EJ withdraws his complaint, the GA can revisit the executive board’s decision,” said POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino during an online news conference after the assembly.

Tolentino reiterated that Juico will stay as athletics president “for other matters but no longer recognized by the POC,” clarifying that Patafa “could still function as an NSA under the national Olympic committee.”

“He is still the Patafa president for other matters without recognizing him, but they still have their vice president and secretary-general who can attend POC activities,” Tolentino said, noting that the GA doesn’t need a full majority vote since they are not suspending or ousting Juico as Patafa president.

“We do not need a 3/4 or 2/3 vote because we’re not ousting and suspending him as president. We are only declaring him as persona non grata but still, 36 is 2/3 votes of the POC,” he said.