Malacañang on Tuesday said it will be keeping tabs on the issue surrounding star athlete Ernest John "EJ" Obiena and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa).
The pole vault champion was being probed by the national sports association (NSA) over his alleged falsification of liquidation reports and non-payment of compensation to his foreign coach, Vitaly Petrov of Ukraine.
This led to Obiena threatening to go into early retirement because of what he tagged as "character assassination" by his national sports association.
"Nagsalita na po ang PSC tungkol sa concern at issue po na 'yan. Inaasahan natin na mas magiging proactive ang PSC at imu-monitor po natin iyong developments ng concern po na iyan (The PSC has already spoken regarding that concern and issue. We expect the PSC to be more proactive and we will monitor the developments of that concern)," acting spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said during his press briefing.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William "Butch" Ramirez earlier said they will only "intervene when it is appropriate" but for now the PSC will leave it to PATAFA and Obiena to settle the matter "internally."
Earlier reports claimed Patafa demanded Obiena to return 85,000 euros or over P4.8 million given to him as financial assistance for purportedly failing to pay for the services rendered by Petrov.
Obiena quickly denied this and assured that he had not been remiss in paying the salary of Petrov, who had been his coach since 2018.
Obiena, who broke the Asian record for pole vault at 5.93 meters just last September when he competed in the International Golden Roof Challenge in Australia, likewise demanded a retraction and a public apology from the association.