By Mario Casayuran
Senator Imee Marcos said Senate sports committee chairman Christopher ‘Bong’ Go must get to the bottom of the numerous Southeast Asian (SEA) Games-related foul-ups that are embarrassing the Filipino people even before the biennial sports event has begun.
The target of the impending probe is House of Representatives Speaker Alan Peter S. Cayetano, a political enemy of the Marcos family.
Cayetano’s continuous hammering of the alleged human rights abuses and corruption committed by the Marcos family during the presidency and martial law administration of the late President Ferdinand Marcos might have led to the defeat of then-senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in his bid for the vice presidency in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Cayetano was President Duterte’s running mate, and Cayetano and Ferdinand Jr. waged a bitter political campaign against each other.
Go is a political ally of President Duterte, having served the latter as a close confidant when Duterte was Davao city mayor, and later as Special Assistant to the President.
Senator Marcos, Ferdinand Jr.’s elder sister, said she backs Go’s promise to conduct a probe and that he would be the best person to prove that the government does not cover up anomalies committed by those close to the President.
“If Senator Go will really conduct an investigation, and I hope he does, he would prove that the government is not afraid to go up against President Duterte’s allies,” Marcos said.
Cayetano, who chairs the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc), and Philippine Sports Committee chairman William Ramirez have come under fire for various logistical blunders exposed in mainstream and social media.
Team coaches and athletes from Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and the Philippines’ women’s football team have complained about delayed transport and hotel accommodations, meals served in small portions and that lacked nutrition or that were not ‘halal’ for Muslim athletes, and sports venues that have not been completely built days before the games begin November 30.
“It’s just so sad that Alan (Cayetano) himself as Phisgoc chair admitted to the blunders that occurred upon the arrival of athletes from various countries participating in the SEA Games,” Senator Marcos said.
Complaints of nepotism and favoritism in national sports associations have also surfaced among bemedalled Filipino athletes in karate and skateboarding who were excluded from the list of SEA Games participants.
Senator Marcos said that although it was premature to pin blame, the people are sure to demand a reckoning for the billions spent on hosting the SEA Games and that someone should be made accountable for the foul-ups.