Lacson says SEAG probe should be discussed

Published November 14, 2020, 6:06 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Sen.Panfilo Lacson said members of the Senate should not be quick to shut down Sen. Risa Hontiveros’ call for a full-blown investigation on the alleged irregularities in the construction of the Southeast Asian Games sports facilities, just because she is a member of the minority.


In a radio interview Saturday, Lacson said that “out of respect,” concerned committees should at least hold a preliminary meeting to weigh whether or not such appeal for a legislative inquiry would have basis.

“Not for anything, pero dahil merong resolution at privilege speech ‘yung isang kasamahan namin, sa tingin ko, dapat namang tignan din (but because one of our colleagues filed a resolution and delivered a privilege speech, I think, we should at least look into it),” Lacson told DWIZ.

“Sa akin lang, kasi por que ba minority group si Sen. Risa, eh parang babalewala(in) ng mayorya? Kasi nanggaling din ako sa minority group noong araw, eh hindi ginagawa sa amin ‘yan, eh (To me, just because Sen. Risa is part of the minority group, the majority will just ignore her call? Because I also came from the minority bloc, they did not do that to us),” he said.

“Ako mismo, ‘pag may privilege speech, nagkakaroon naman ng inquiry ‘yong buong Senado (Whenever I would have a privilege speech, the entire Senate would start an inquiry).”

Should Hontiveros fail to present sufficient basis regarding her claims, then a committee hearing would indeed not be necessary, Lacson said.

Last Tuesday, Hontiveros called for a Senate inquiry on the possible “collusion”in the funding and the construction of the sports facilities used in the 2019 SEAG. She cited the report of the Commission of Audit (COA) flagging the agreement entered into by the government with the Malaysian firm that built the facilities.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Pia Cayetano rejected Hontiveros’ appeal, both saying that this would be an insult to the hardwork and success of Filipino athletes and the organizers of the biennial regional event.

While acknowledging his colleagues’ position, Lacson, on the other hand, believed that the country’s achievements during the SEA Games should not be linked to any possible anomalies in the dealings of concerned government agencies for the event.

“Magkahiwalay na issue ‘yun eh. Kung totoo mang may overpricing o may anomalya, walang kinalaman ‘yun doon sa medal haul ng mga atleta (Those are different issues. If there is truth to the alleged overpricing or anomalies, that is not related to the medal haul of our athletes),” Lacson said.

Hontiveros’ resolution for the proposed Senate inquiry was referred to the Senate Blue Ribbon committee chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon.

Gordon, on Saturday, said he was open to initiating the probe after the Senate has finished deliberating the proposed 2021 national budget.