By Robert B. Roque, Jr.
Firing Line extends its warmest congratulations to all athletes who participated in the successful, recently concluded 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
This sincere greeting is meant for all athletes who won the gold, silver and bronze, as well as those who fought hard but failed to bag their medal.
This corner understands that they tried their best and extended all efforts despite the odds stacked against them. They can surely try their luck in the next SEA Games or upcoming Olympics.
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There is no question that the Philippines won a total of 387 medals and was declared SEA Games 2019 overall champion.
But Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson pointed out that this should not be an excuse to cancel a Senate probe on the supposed irregularities in the biennial regional competition.
The Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) headed by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano should explain all expenditures incurred, especially the controversial cauldron that reportedly cost P50 million.
The success of our athletes should not be mixed with the questionable handling of PHISGOC funds and the Games. The organizing committee has nothing to do with all the progress that our Filipino athletes achieved, he said.
Lacson said we should not turn a blind eye on the excessive spending just because our athletes were successful, which is quite right.
He noted that before the beginning of the Games, the transfer of funds from government agencies like the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee to a private group like PHISGOC was already against the law.
I couldn’t agree more.
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The senator said the transfer of P1.5 billion in public funds for the Games to a private group headed by Cayetano is no joking matter, should not be taken lightly, and should be compared to Janet Napoles’s P10-billion pork barrel racket.
I can not entirely agree with Lacson comparing the fund transfer to the Napoles scam. Nevertheless, it is worth looking into.
Firing Line also reiterates its position, as mentioned in a previous column, that the President should not clear any official linked to the issue even before the probe begins.
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