Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go is ready to call for a parallel investigation on the allegations hounding the embattled Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc).
In a statement, the Senate sports committee chairman said he would not hesitate to call for an inquiry on top of what the House of Representatives and the Office of the Ombudsman will launch soon.
“Kung merong magsasampa ng reklamo o resolution sa Senado, handa po tayo at hindi ako mag-aatubiling isagawa ang parallel investigation on the allegations against Phisgoc,” Go told the Daily Tribune.
Chaired by ousted House speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Phisgoc is in hot water after the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) pressed it to come up with an audited financial statement during the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Phisgoc was given until 10 October, but it failed to comply, prompting the POC to float the idea of slapping it with a legal case for breach of the tripartite agreement they forged with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) before the staging of the biennial meet last year.
The trouble in Phisgoc caught the attention of Malacañang with Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque giving the green light to the Lower House and Ombudsman to conduct an investigation.
The Phisgoc that organized the SEA Games was different from the one that was given the authority by the POC, the franchise holder of the Games, in 2017.
When former POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco was booted out in 2018, his successor in Ricky Vargas joined four Cayetano allies in creating Phisgoc Foundation, a body that aims to organize the biennial meet without the imprimatur of the POC executive council.
Phisgoc Foundation, however, was able to receive financial support through the virtue of Memorandum Circular 56, which instructs all government agencies to support its hosting of the SEA Games.
The POC executives raised a howl, but Cayetano stressed that he is ready to answer all allegations in a proper forum.
“Ang importante naman po ay malaman ng taumbayan ang katotohanan. Nagsabi naman po ang PHISGOC, PSC, POC at iba pang nag-organisa ng hosting natin noong 2019 Southeast Asian Games na handa silang sagutin ang mga alegasyon laban sa kanila,” Go said, adding that he already talked to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to release the fund that would be given to suppliers and service providers who have yet to be paid by Phisgoc.
PSC executive director Guillermo Iroy admitted before the Senate that Phisgoc still owes various suppliers and service providers around P387 million.
“Kinausap ko rin ang DBM upang matulungan ang PSC at Phisgoc na mabayaran ang mga hindi pa nababayaran na suppliers kaugnay ng hosting natin noong 2019 SEA Games,” Go said.
“Kung ano ang utang, dapat mabayaran. Obligasyon nila ito, lalo na ‘yung para sa mga maliliit na mga suppliers at mga suweldo ng mga taong naghirap upang maging maganda ang hosting natin ng nakaraang SEA Games,” he added.
Go reminded Phisgoc to pay this immediately as ordinary Filipinos will carry the burden of these unpaid SEA Games-related expenses.
“Ibigay na kaagad dahil ayaw natin na ang mga ordinaryong Pilipino ang pumapasan sa kakulangan ng iilan na makapagbayad on time. Meron pa naman tayong pandemyang hinaharap at marami sa mga kababayan natin ang naghihirap pa rin,” said Go.
“Napakaganda ng hosting natin ng SEA Games. Naipakita natin sa buong mundo ang galing ng atletang Pilipino. Huwag sana ito masayang, aksyunan na natin ang mga naiwang mga obligasyon at tuldukan na ang mga isyu na konektado rito,” he ended.