Senator Christopher “Bong” Go (contributed photo)

MANILA – Senate Committee on Sports chair, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, has once again stressed that sports should not be tainted with politics.

Go made this appeal as he called for swift resolution of the dispute between Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) and pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena that has already caused the latter to miss the chance to compete in the 2022 World Athletics Indoor Championships held last March 18 to 20.

“Alam n’yo, sabi ko nga, iwan n’yo na po iyung pulitika sa mga pulitiko. Dapat po huwag ninyong ihalo iyong pulitika sa sports. Eh ang problema dito kung nahaluan na po ng pulitika ‘yung sports, kawawa ‘yung atleta (You know, as I said, leave that politics to the politicians. You should not mix your politics with sports. The problem here is that if politics has mixed sports, athletes are affected),” Go said in a media interview after visiting the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City on Monday.

He said Obiena’s potential to bring home another honor for the country has been wasted due to politics in sports.

Go urged anew the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to help expedite the mediation process between PATAFA and Obiena, as recommended in the joint hearing by the Senate Committees on Sports and Finance presided by Go last February 7.

He also called on concerned sports officials and organizations, including National Sports Associations (NSA) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) to prioritize the welfare of the athletes and to prevent similar conflicts from recurring.

“Suportahan n’yo po ang mga atleta. Huwag kayong mag-away-away. Kung pwede n’yo naman pong pag-usapan, pag-usapan n’yo na po. The more na nada-drag po ito, tumatagal – the more po nawawalan po ng maayos na representative ang ating bayan (Let’s support our athletes. No bickering. You have to talk. The more we drag this issue, our country is losing representative),” he said.

He said the athletes should focus on their training.

“It would be very draining on the part of the athlete kung mismong sila po’y nagte-training, at the same time nag-a-account ng pera, kukuwentahin ‘yon (that while training, they also have to account the money given to them),” he added.

POC has already suspended PATAFA following its non-endorsement of Obiena to the World Indoors and other major foreign meets.

PATAFA insisted that it merely did not act on Obiena's request for endorsement pending the completion of the mediation process.

Go, in his capacity as the Senate Sports Committee Chair, has issued a show cause order to PATAFA’s board of directors on March 18 asking them to explain why they should not be cited for contempt under Section 18 of the Senate Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries In Aid of Legislation, for filing an arbitration case despite a prior commitment to undergo mediation proceedings with Obiena.

“Nagpadala na po kami ng sulat, ng show cause order, na i-explain kasi mayroon pong (motion) ‘yung kasamahan ko sa (We already sent letter, a show cause order, to explain because my colleagues have motion in the) Committee to cite them for a contempt,” Go said.

“Ako naman po bilang Chair, nagpapagitna, (As chair of the committee, I have to stay neutral) and to always be fair to everybody… nag-order po ako ng (I have issued) show cause order to give them three days to explain kung (bakit hindi) dapat sila i-contempt (why they should be cited for contempt),” he added. (PR)