MANILA – Sen. Pia Cayetano on Tuesday castigated calls for an investigation into possible anomalies in the construction of sports facilities used in the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
The lawmaker, whose brother Taguig-Pateros 1st District Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano spearheaded the Games’ organizing committee, took offense that the “world-class” facilities were being politicized.
"I am embarrassed that we cannot even honor that. I am embarrassed that we choose to make a political issue out of a world-class facility," she said.
"Kaya tuloy wala nang mag-aabala na magpatayo ng matitino at kahanga-hangang infrastructure dito sa Pilipinas dahil magpatayo ka ng maganda, sasabihan kang may kalokohan ka.
(That's why we can't build impressive infrastructure here because if you build one, you will be accused of wrongdoing.)
"So paano? Puro bulok na lang tayo para walang pumansin? Ganoon?" added Cayetano, also a former national athlete.
(So what now? We will make do with rotten facilities so they would just go unnoticed?)
In a privilege speech, Sen. Risa Hontiveros urged the upper chamber to investigate the Bases Conversion and Development Authority's (BCDA) P9.5-billion loan used for the construction of the 2019 SEA Games venue.
The minority lawmaker sought to look into the loan after the Commission on Audit (COA) flagged BCDA's deal with Malaysian developer MTD Capital Berhad, saying that the joint venture agreement may have been "disadvantageous to the public."
Under a February 2018 agreement, the MTD was supposed to shoulder in advance the P8.5 billion needed to construct the sports facilities in the New Clark City in Tarlac, while the BCDA would provide the land.
Hontiveros alleged that MTD Capital Berhad did not release funds as "the capital it was supposed to provide was funded by a P9.5-billion loan from government-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP)."
The BCDA settled its P9.5 billion debt last year using taxpayers' money, she said.
"Given the billions that went to building the facilities used in the 2019 SEA Games, we must see to it that the transactions related to this project did not violate existing laws and policies, and were not prejudicial to the public," Hontiveros said.