De Lima backs audit of 30th SEAG expenses

Published October 23, 2020, 11:32 AM

by Mario Casayuran

Opposition Sen. Leila M. de Lima has supported calls from the members of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) seeking an audited financial statement on the expenses during the 30th Southeast Asian Games last year.


De Lima, a former Justice Secretary, made the statement after learning from reports that the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) has yet to report or account for any of the monies spent and earned in the biennial competition.

“Until now, one year after the country’s hosting of the biennial competition, the Filipino public is still left in the dark with regards to how PHISGOC spent billions on last year’s Southeast Asian Games,” she said.

“We need to know how such big amount of money was spent, as well as the possible accountability of PHISGOC officials. We cannot simply ignore possible corruption and incompetence when they happen right in front of our very noses,” she added.

The POC is reportedly ready to press legal charges against PHISGOC after it failed to come up with a financial report during the country’s hosting of the SEAG.

To date, PHISGOC has yet to present its financial report to the POC, which includes the revenues generated from ticket sales, merchandise, broadcast rights, and private fund gained from local and international sponsorships.

Apparently, the liquidation of SEAG funds was extended until last Oct. 10 but PHISGOC chairman and former House Speaker Alan Peter S. Cayetano and chief operating officer Ramon “Tats” Suzara reportedly brushed it off and still failed to comply.

“Gusto nating malaman kung paano ginagastos ang pondong inilaan sa bawat proyekto ng gobyerno, lalong lalo na ang mga naiulat nang may bahid ng katiwalian. Siyempre, gusto nating tukuyin, para hindi na maulit pa, kung may mga kababalaghang nangyari o may mamahaling kaldero na na namang ginastusan na wala namang naitulong sa kapakanan at pangangailangan ng taumbayan,” De Lima said.

(We want to know how the funds for the government projects were spent, particularly those reportedly tainted with graft. To avoid a repetition of questionable disbursements, we want to know the circumstances or purchase of the expensive ‘kaldero’ (cauldron) that had no use and needs of the populace)

“Kaya simula pa lang, itinutulak na natin ang imbestigasyon ukol dito. Kung wala silang itinatago, dapat matagal na nilang idinetalye ang kanilang gastos,” added De Lima.

(That is why we have been pushing for a probe into this. If there is nothing to hide, they should have submitted a detailed expenditure)

De Lima recently urged Congress anew to investigate the alleged irregularities and other problems that marred the country’s hosting of the SEAG after learning that the event’s organizing committee still owes suppliers P387 million.

She asked her colleagues to deliberate on her proposed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 274 that was filed last year which seeks to investigate the reported organizational and administrative problems, as well as possible corruption, which affected the biennial sports meet.