MANILA - Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Saturday said he was torn between the administration and critics regarding the controversial P50-million cauldron for the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games hosted by the Philippines.
The lawmaker said he was fine with the price tag as long the cost was intended for the country's image during the regional event which will start on November 30.
"'Pag tinignan mo on the side of the government, as long as hindi mawawaldas o makukurakot lang 'yan, at para sa ikasasagana ng imahe ng Pilipinas, not only in Southeast Asia but also in the world, kung gumastos tayo para dito, okay yan," Sotto told radio DWIZ.
He added: "Kung gusto natin pagandahin ang image ng Pilipinas, talagang mapipilitan kang gastusan 'yan."
Sotto said critics who have slammed the multimillion-peso cauldron also have a point, saying the money used for the controversial landmark could have been allocated for food and other necessary expenses of the athletes and staff of the SEA Games.
"May mga punto eh pero siguro, ang mamamayani diyan e who calls the shots. Sino ba ang boss? Eh, 'yung boss yan ang gusto bilhin e. All you can do is criticize," Sotto said.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier defended the purchase, saying the price of the SEA Games cauldron is justified because it is a work of art.
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has also justified the price of the cauldron, after Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon described it as an “unnecessary extravagance.”
Sotto called for a "ceasefire" between the warring sides, saying the pointing of fingers can resume after the SEA Games which will end on Dec. 11.
"Kampihan muna natin 'yung mga atleta natin. Pagkatapos, atsaka tayo magturuan," Sotto said.