Speaker-in-waiting asks public to put comments against SEAG mess ‘on hold’

By Ellson Quismorio 

Marinduque lone district Rep. Lord Allan Velasco expects "a lot of people" to be interesting in pursuing a probe into the unfurling mess that is the country's hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEAG).

Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco (FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN) Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco

Velasco, the Speaker-in-waiting based on his term-sharing agreement with current Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, had this to say as he appealed to Filipinos Tuesday to keep their comments on the organizational side of the SEAG to themselves, and at least for the moment.

"Yung mga comments, hold na po muna natin (Let's put those comments on hold for the meantime). I think there are a lot of people who will be filing for investigations on what really happened with the SEA Games. So wait na lang po natin yun (So let's just wait for that)," he told reporters in chance interview.

"We'll just make the people who are accountable, accountable," added Velasco, who belongs to ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

"Right now instead of focusing on inefficiencies, mga pagkukulang (the shortcomings), let's focus on how we can improve it. Iisang bansa lang tayo (We're just one country). Let's show them who Filipinos are," said the solon, who also chairs the Energy Committee.

The staging of the SEAG so far has been marred with embarrassing blunders. The games will officially start on Saturday, November 30, although some events have already commenced.

Cayetano, who represents Taguig-Pateros in the House, also serves as chairman of the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc). He already held that position even before his election as Speaker last July.

"Right now I think we are all pointing fingers. At the end of the day pag isipin natin ang reputasyon ng bansa ang nakasalalay dito...iba ang hospitality ng Filipinos (let's keep in mind that the country's reputation is at stake here...Filipino hospitality is one of a kind)," Velasco said.

Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-List Rep. Jericho Nograles agreed that there should be accountability as far as the problems in connection with the SEAG is concerned.

"Ang alam ko (What I know is), we will hold everyone accountable for both the good and the bad," he told reporters during the Ugnayan News Forum Tuesday afternoon.

Alluding to some reactions in social media, Nograles said it was "unfortunate" that the SEAG was being given political color. "Ang sports dapat hindi pinupulitika eh (Sports shouldn't be politicized)."

"We're not downplaying the faults. Kung sino yung dapat managot, mananagot (Whoever is at fault should be held accountable). Simple as that," added the Davao-based solon.

Cayetano has done a commendable job as House Speaker, if his high trust and approval ratings are anything to go by. But Nograles said all the negative publicity on the SEAG and PHISGOC by extension might affect his leadership in the chamber to a degree.
"With all the pressures that is getting, I think that's going to be challenge," Nograles said.