By Ellson Quismorio
No saboteurs, just uninformed social media commenters.
Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Pimentel contended Monday that there really wasn’t a concerted effort to sabotage the local hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG), and that the mishaps reported in connection with it were simply blown out of proportion in the online space.
“I don’t think there was a plan [to sabotage the SEAG],” said Pimentel, a Deputy Speaker in the current 18th Congress.
“It was just a [series of] unnecessary comments from the public and social media of which they do not have information of what really transpired,” reckoned the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) stalwart.
If anything, the “good side” of the SEAG have dominated news recently, from the Filipino athletes’ sterling performance in the games that have earned them nearly 300 medals, to the hospitality and pampering the foreign competitors have been receiving at the Athletes’ Village in New Clark City, Tarlac.
Then there are also those still wowed by the impressive opening ceremony of the games, which was held at the 55,000-seat Philippine Arena last November 30.
“With the successful opening ceremony I believe the organizers have been vindicated,” Pimentel said, alluding to the logistical woes that were encountered as the athletes began to arrive in the country.
The Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee or Phisgoc is chaired by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.
Speaking of Cayetano, he earlier told reporters that he had gathered evidence that at least four groups attempted to sabotage the Philippines’ hosting of the SEAG.
“We’re digging deeper. May digital footprint eh. So kitang-kita na sila nagkalat at nag-imbento (There’s a digital footprint. We clearly saw that they were the one who spread and fabricated it),” Cayetano said, adding that those involved were “political” personalities.
Despite not being convinced that there was a sabotage try, Pimentel said he would still support the conduct of a House inquiry on the subject.
“If ever there will be one, I will support the inquiry on the alleged plan to sabotage the SEA Games,” he said.
Cayetano has vowed to unmask the alleged saboteurs after the SEAG, the closing rites of which would be held on December 11.