Press Release
April 17, 2022

Tolentino welcomes COA's green light on Obiena's liquidation woes

MANILA - Senator Francis 'Tol' N. Tolentino on Sunday welcomed the latest finding made by the country's state auditors which cleared Olympic pole vaulter and reigning Asian-record holder Ernest John 'EJ' Obiena over his liquidation woes.

According to Tolentino, now that the Commission on Audit (COA) didn't find irregularities on how Obiena spent the government-funded expenditures--including the salary allocation for his Ukrainian coach--the 26-year-old Olympian can now shift his attention and solely focus on the real upcoming battles ahead, especially the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam next month and the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China this coming September.

In a letter sent by COA to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) dated March 31, 2022, state auditors clarified that they "have not issued any Notice of Suspension nor Notice of Disallowance" over the government-funded assistance given to Obiena amounting to P12.34 million between June 2019 until August 2022.

"This will definitely put a final closure on the matter. EJ's sole job is only to train hard and to perform well for his upcoming tournaments. Hindi niya trabaho na maging isang accountant," said Tolentino.

Last March 17, Tolentino and three other senators filed a motion for contempt against top honchos of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) for bringing the case of Obiena before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland after the botched mediation between the two camps.

The current World No. 5 pole vaulter and the Patafa leadership later reconciled last March 30 and "agreed to a settlement" as announced earlier by PSC chairman William "Butch" Ramirez.

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