MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte wants government to handle preparations for the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games due to alleged corruption in the privately-formed Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) Foundation, his spokesman said Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte told him Monday night that he doesn’t want PHISGOC, led by aspiring House Speaker Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, to handle the hosting of the games.
“He (Duterte) said that he doesn’t want the foundation, gusto niya gobyerno. Sabi niya maraming korapsyon diyan sa private kaya nasisira yung mga diskarte ng andiyan, kaya gusto niya gobyerno,” Panelo told reporters.
(He wants the government to handle it. He said there’s too much corruption in the private side that’s why their strategies are ruined, that’s why he wants the government.)
While the President made no mention of an investigation into corruption allegations in the PHISGOC, Panelo said concerned agencies “will have to delve into that.”
The Duterte spokesman however assured that Cayetano still enjoys the President’s trust despite the supposed fraud in the PHISGOC but noted that the lawmaker may no longer be involved in the handling of the games. Panelo said he will discuss the matter with Cayetano on Tuesday.
“Baka mahirapan na si Congressman Cayetano kung siya ang magiging Speaker. How can he even have time for that (SEA Games)?” Panelo said.
(Congressman Cayetano may have a difficult time if he will become the Speaker.)
Duterte earlier said he wants the government to organize the games, noting that the foundation is only a nuisance.
“I have to be responsible for this… me, personally, give it to government,” Duterte said last week in an exclusive interview with The Daily Tribune.
“Yes… it’s should be… first, it should be the government… the most interested in winning the medal… iyang foundation na iyan panggulo iyan… So many fingers that dipping on… not necessarily corruption naman… pero gobyerno na lang para isa lang,” he said.
(That foundation is only a nuisance…so many fingers dipping on…not necessarily corruption…but it should be the government only.)
The Philippine Olympic Committee has insisted that it is the franchise-holder of the SEA Games, and is thus the "rightful body to organize the prestigious biennial meet set from November 30 to December 15.”