No sacred cow in Palace probe of SEA Games – Panelo

Published November 28, 2019, 2:02 PM

by Martin Sadongdong & Antonio Colina

By Genalyn Kabiling and Ben Rosario 

The government is prepared to hold accountable House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, the head of the or­ganizing committee of the Southeast Asian Games, if found involved in any irregularity, Malacañang declared Thursday.

No one will be spared from the government’s investigation on the al­leged irregularities besetting regional tournament regardless of friendship or alliance with President Duterte, according to presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo.

Cayetano is the head of the pri­vately formed organizing committee Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) that has drawn flak for alleged inefficiency following some logistical lapses that inconve­nienced athletes.

“There is no sacred cow in this government. We have been repeatedly saying that. Those who transgress law will be accountable,” Panelo said during a Palace press brief­ing when asked if the Palace was ready to punish Cayetano if found accountable.

“Did you see the President fire his friends and allies in the Cabinet?” he added.

Dismayed with some organiza­tional lapses, the President recently authorized an investigation into the alleged incompetence and corrup­tion from the country’s hosting of the regional sports tournament. The competition has been marred with problems such as poor hotel and transport accommodations for the athletes.

Panelo, speaking to reporters at the Palace, said the probe to be con­ducted by the Office of the President will start immediately after the games. The President may assign a person or create a committee to lead the inves­tigation, he added.

“Whatever irregularities or any allegation of fraud, they will all be in­vestigated after the event,” he said.

“The President is clear that while he is displeased with what he has heard, he would like these games to proceed,” he added.

Panelo agreed with the critics of Phisgoc about the reported lapses in preparing and organizing the regional sports tournament.

“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,” he said.

“The critics have a point. There is indeed something wrong with the preparations,” he said.

The investigation into the al­leged irregularities in the SEA Games ordered by President Duterte will be conducted as soon as the tournament is over, Panelo said.

Cayetano strikes back

On Thursday, Cayetano hit back at detractors behind the series of criticisms over the country’s host­ing of the SEA Games, vowing to face them as soon as the competitions are over.

Interviewed following his speech at the 44th anniversary of the Philipine National Prayer Breakfast Thursday, Cayetano lamented the flood of al­leged fake news aimed at discrediting him and the Phisgoc which he heads.

Cayetano will ignore the protec­tion granted under inter-parlia­mentary courtesy, saying that he is prepared to face a Senate inquiry into the SEA Games funding controversies but after December 12, when the regional competition is over.

He also disclosed that on that date, he will send a letter to the Commission on Audit to conduct an inde­pendent special au­dit of all government funds spent for the SEA Games.

The House leader said President Duterte has sent word for him to continue and “do your job.”

Cayetano also claimed he has infor­mation that the cam­paign to discredit the country’s handling of the SEA Games is backed by an enormous amount of money.

This is clearly man­ifested by media’s re­porting of the “kikiam” incident which was later clarified by the Century Park Hotel manage­ment as untrue.

Cayetano also vowed to pursue crim­inal charges against persons behind the SEA Games smear drive for violation of libel and cyber libel laws.

He also assailed Senators Panfilo Lac­son and Franklin Dri­lon who criticized the House leader’s han­dling of the SEA Games project.

Lacson questioned the receipt by Phisgoc of over P1.5 billion from government as being similar to the pork bar­rel anomalies that were charged against busi­nesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.

Cayetano countered that Lacson has also been receiving gov­ernment money to his account to finance the operations of his Sen­ate office.

READ MORE: Palace to PHISGOC: Rectify errors, offer better services at SEAGDe Lima wants ‘microscopic’ probe of SEAG finances,

 
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No sacred cow in Palace probe of SEA Games – Panelo

Published November 28, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Genalyn Kabiling and Ben Rosario 

The government is prepared to hold accountable House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, the head of the or­ganizing committee of the Southeast Asian Games, if found involved in any irregularity, Malacañang declared Thursday.

No one will be spared from the government’s investigation on the al­leged irregularities besetting regional tournament regardless of friendship or alliance with President Duterte, according to presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo.

Cayetano is the head of the pri­vately formed organizing committee Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) that has drawn flak for alleged inefficiency following some logistical lapses that inconve­nienced athletes.

“There is no sacred cow in this government. We have been repeatedly saying that. Those who transgress law will be accountable,” Panelo said during a Palace press brief­ing when asked if the Palace was ready to punish Cayetano if found accountable.

“Did you see the President fire his friends and allies in the Cabinet?” he added.

Dismayed with some organiza­tional lapses, the President recently authorized an investigation into the alleged incompetence and corrup­tion from the country’s hosting of the regional sports tournament. The competition has been marred with problems such as poor hotel and transport accommodations for the athletes.

Panelo, speaking to reporters at the Palace, said the probe to be con­ducted by the Office of the President will start immediately after the games. The President may assign a person or create a committee to lead the inves­tigation, he added.

“Whatever irregularities or any allegation of fraud, they will all be in­vestigated after the event,” he said.

“The President is clear that while he is displeased with what he has heard, he would like these games to proceed,” he added.

Panelo agreed with the critics of Phisgoc about the reported lapses in preparing and organizing the regional sports tournament.

“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,” he said.

“The critics have a point. There is indeed something wrong with the preparations,” he said.

The investigation into the al­leged irregularities in the SEA Games ordered by President Duterte will be conducted as soon as the tournament is over, Panelo said.

Cayetano strikes back

On Thursday, Cayetano hit back at detractors behind the series of criticisms over the country’s host­ing of the SEA Games, vowing to face them as soon as the competitions are over.

Interviewed following his speech at the 44th anniversary of the Philipine National Prayer Breakfast Thursday, Cayetano lamented the flood of al­leged fake news aimed at discrediting him and the Phisgoc which he heads.

Cayetano will ignore the protec­tion granted under inter-parlia­mentary courtesy, saying that he is prepared to face a Senate inquiry into the SEA Games funding controversies but after December 12, when the regional competition is over.

He also disclosed that on that date, he will send a letter to the Commission on Audit to conduct an inde­pendent special au­dit of all government funds spent for the SEA Games.

The House leader said President Duterte has sent word for him to continue and “do your job.”

Cayetano also claimed he has infor­mation that the cam­paign to discredit the country’s handling of the SEA Games is backed by an enormous amount of money.

This is clearly man­ifested by media’s re­porting of the “kikiam” incident which was later clarified by the Century Park Hotel manage­ment as untrue.

Cayetano also vowed to pursue crim­inal charges against persons behind the SEA Games smear drive for violation of libel and cyber libel laws.

He also assailed Senators Panfilo Lac­son and Franklin Dri­lon who criticized the House leader’s han­dling of the SEA Games project.

Lacson questioned the receipt by Phisgoc of over P1.5 billion from government as being similar to the pork bar­rel anomalies that were charged against busi­nesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.

Cayetano countered that Lacson has also been receiving gov­ernment money to his account to finance the operations of his Sen­ate office.

READ MORE: Palace to PHISGOC: Rectify errors, offer better services at SEAGDe Lima wants ‘microscopic’ probe of SEAG finances,

 
CLICK HERE TO SIGN-UP
 

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