POC declares PATAFA chief persona non grata amid Obiena rift

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 28)— The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has declared Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) president Philip Ella Juico a "persona non grata" in the wake of the controversial rift with pole vaulter EJ Obiena.

In a statement on Tuesday, the POC said the executive board approved the recommendation of its ethics committee to carry out the move.

"We do not recognize him anymore as president of PATAFA until the new election of its president," the committee said.

POC president Abraham Tolentino, however, stressed that PATAFA will still be recognized as the national association for the sport despite this development.

According to the POC, the ethics panel's probe found that Juico made "malicious public accusations" against Obiena — who represented the Philippines in the Tokyo Olympics and is the current pole vault record holder in Asia.

These include the allegations on falsifying the liquidation reports on the salary of his Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov — a claim Obiena denies.

READ: EJ Obiena denies not paying Ukrainian coach, threatens to 'immediately' retire

RELATED: EJ Obiena blasts PATAFA for not paying coach directly, admits late payments

As of publishing, Juico has yet to issue a statement on the matter.

Meanwhile, the POC assured support for Obiena in future international contests.

"If PATAFA won't endorse him, which I doubt they would, then we will," Tolentino said.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Pauline Verzosa contributed to this report.