‘SEA Games organizers lack foresight; Cayetano cleared‘
Asked if he thinks Cayetano is accountable, he said: “Yes, he has to answer. But I don’t think he is involved in corruption.”Cayetano on Thursday said he is ready to face an investigation into the ‘blunders’ in relation to the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games after the sports event is held.“[Come] Dec. 12, hold me accountable. Hold the SEA Games Organizing Committee accountable,” he said in a speech during the 44th National Prayer Breakfast in San Juan City.“I am not afraid. I am ready to face the Senate… the Ombudsman,” he said in Filipino.Cayetano said he is even ready to take a lie detector test to prove he didn’t obtain any personal benefit from his stint as head of the organizing committee.“I’m willing to do a lie detector test. And I can look anyone in the eye [and say] we did not get a single centavo. In fact, we had to spend our personal funds,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.Cayetano on Thursday said money was flowing into an alleged smear campaign against him and the organization committee.Four or five websites are continuously publishing fake news on the regional event, he said.“They want to perpetuate the lie. Is the hosting perfect? No. But is it good? It’s very good,” he added.Cayetano said he was considering filing libel charges against those behind the alleged disinformation campaign.
Panelo said the Palace investigation would include Cayetano as PHISGOC chair even if he is an ally of the President, as well as the controversial P50-million stadium cauldron, Panelo said.“An array of criticisms has been made on how PHISGOC has handled the logistics of this momentous event, and these should be accepted and considered in order to rectify the errors it has committed,” Panelo said in a statement.“The critics have a point. There is indeed something wrong with the preparations,” he added.Meanwhile, Panelo said Filipinos should support local athletes and welcome foreign guests while the games are ongoing.
President Duterte will also give incentives and even medals to the winning athletes, he said.Panelo also “strongly suggested” that organizers waive the fee of SEA Games events for students or give them 50 percent discounts.This was in response to the call made by Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella to make SEA Games events free to the public, saying the home teams would benefit if fans were allowed to enter the stadiums free.He added classes in Metro Manila schools and those in Clark and Subic should be suspended to allow students to rally behind Filipino athletes.Games in water polo, polo, netball, and football have started in different areas in Metro Manila and Central Luzon since Tuesday.The President is scheduled to attend the opening of SEA Games on Saturday, which will be held at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.Filipino-American rapper and singer Allan Pineda or apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas is slated to perform in the opening ceremony.Tickets cost P12,000 for Patron A, P4,000 for upper box, P1,500 for general admission center, and P1,000 for general admission side.World gymnastics champion Carlos Edriel Yulo will be the torchbearer in the opening rites.Hidilyn Diaz, EJ Obiena, Nesthy Petecio, Eumir Marcial, Margielyn Didal, and Kiyomi Watanabe will be the Philippine flag bearers.Fans can also purchase tickets for the other sporting events in Clark, Subic, and Metro Manila through smtickets.com.
He said The P7.5 billion funding for SEA Games that was mysteriously lodged in the budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs—that even the Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin disowned—was only transferred to the Philippine Sports Commission.The third reading version of the 2019 General Appropriations Bill passed by the Senate, Drilon also said, would show that the P7.5-billion budget lodged under the Philippine Sports Commission was intact.The Senate leader said it was during the bicameral conference committee, which members of the House were a part of, that the SEA Games budget was slashed to P5 billion.
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