By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte said that he could still be wrong about House Speaker Alan Cayetano misusing the funds for the country’s hosting of the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games).
Duterte made the statement a day after clearing Cayetano of allegations of corruption related to the funds for the SEA Games hosting.
In an interview with CNN Philippines, Duterte clarified that his earlier statement about Cayetano being innocent was just his opinion.
“That is just my opinion, I could be wrong. But I have known Cayetano for many years together,” he said Friday evening.
The President said he cannot believe that Cayetano would be involved in corruption because his father was a good friend of his.
“I’ve always believed in him and all of those elections in far and between. Far and wide during his political career, I supported him. The father was a good friend of mine, maybe that’s one of the reasons,” Duterte said.
“Let me put in a vernacular. Parang hindi ako makapaniwala na papatol si Cayetano niyan (I can’t believe that Cayetano will get himself involved in corruption), I don’t think hes’s corrupt,” he added.
The President then reiterated that there would be an investigation on the supposed corruption in the Philippines’ hosting of the SEA Games because of the mishaps involving foreign delegates even before the event started.
“I think the investigation should proceed with the presumption of innocence, then along the way if you find some wrong there either to negligence or intentional then let it out and we’ll sort out what will be next, whether to file charges or not,” he said.
He said the investigation would also reveal if Cayetano pocketed the money for a possible 2022 run.
“Kasi daw magtakbo si Alan. Ah, nagpa-appoint ng ano nila yung foundation (They said Alan created the PHISGOC) to get money for that election. Well, we will see if Alan really intended to get money. We will have the investigation anyway,” the President said.
Duterte added that he will not be able to do anything if the investigation would show that his political allies in the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) are involved in corruption.
“I cannot just keep my mouth and say, ‘Ah wala ‘yan (That’s nothing),’ that would not, that would not be correct. It would be a wrong statement to give to the Filipino people,” he said.
The President also does not think that some groups were out to sabotage the SEA Games by spreading fake news.
“Hindi ‘yan (I don’t think so). People can, we can see through what’s really fake or not,” Duterte expressed.
Earlier, Malacañang said President Duterte wanted to investigate the allegations of corruption surrounding the Philippines’ hosting of the SEA Games, saying the President was not pleased with everything he has been hearing about the event.
The President has already apologized for the mishaps to the foreign athletes.