A Palace spokesman denied Sunday that the firing of Vice President Leni Robredo from the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) was meant to divert public attention away from issues surrounding the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
Philippine officials have apologized after a number of foreign athletes joining the games were left stranded for hours at the airport or were driven to the wrong hotel.
Speaking to reporters in Busan, South Korea, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said that such glitches are expected in an international event.
He said that such inconveniences are unintentional and that the SEA Games organizers have already apologized to the affected athletes.
"You cannot discount any delays, incident of non-transport, or late checking in, given the fact that there are so many athletes coming to the Philippines. Natural lang 'yon," he said.
Malacanang also reiterated their apology to the athletes. “We commit to do better next time. We are offering no excuse,” he said.
Panelo however said that the organizers could have been "more creative" in addressing the problems encountered by the athletes.
“Kung ako 'yon, in the position of those organizers like hindi makacheck-in sa hotel, e di chineck in ko sa ibang hotel muna. Dun muna kayo. Bakit ka pa mag-aantay ng alas dos?" he said.
This applies also to event venues, following reports that several infrastructure projects have yet to be finished a few days before the games.
“If you cannot hold it in another place, then you could hold it on another venue,” Panelo said.