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Rody, tycoons used for Phisgoc boost

Julius Manicad



A powerhouse cast that includes President Rodrigo Duterte and two prominent industrialists is on top of the hierarchy of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc).

In an organizational chart obtained by Daily Tribune from reliable sources, it appears that the Chief Executive is leading Phisgoc — the body chaired by ousted Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and is now being questioned for various irregularities during the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games last year.

Duterte has a title of “chairman emeritus,” a position that some members of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) find odd since he was strongly against the idea of having a foundation like Phisgoc leading the country’s hosting of the biennial meet.

In fact, in an exclusive Daily Tribune interview before his State of the Nation Address last year, Duterte said he is not comfortable having a private body handling government funds.

“I have to be responsible for this. Give the SEA Games to the government,” the President said when asked about Phisgoc’s role in the SEA Games.

“The government is the most interested in winning medals. That (Phisgoc Foundation) only muddles up the issue. So many fingers are dipping into the hosting. It should be the government.”

“I want just one — the government.”

Aside from the President, also in the chart are business tycoons Manny Pangilinan and Dennis Uy.

Pangilinan and Uy were given seats in the board of advisers, which are on the same level as Cayetano being the presiding chairman and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William “Butch” Ramirez and former POC president Ricky Vargas as co-chairmen.

Pangilinan is the chief operating officer and managing director of First Pacific Company Limited with Vargas serving under him as head of the business transformation group of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company.

Uy is a noted businessman from Davao City and founder of Udenna Corporation.

Other notable names in the chart dated 31 May 2019 are Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) Vince Dizon, incumbent POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, former POC secretary general Patrick Gregorio, sports commissioner Arnold Agustin and Cayetano’s former Physical Education teacher Ramon Suzara as executive board members.

Suzara is also the chief operating officer while Gregorio is a director general and former POC chair Tom Carrasco as executive director of the embattled organization.

Under them are former POC chief Celso Dayrit as deputy director general for operations, PSC executive director Guillermo Iroy as deputy director general for administrative services, BCDA vice president Arrey Perez and deputy director general for the athletes village and security, and Cayetano’s political adviser in Greg Garcia as deputy director general for support.

Strong denial
But three POC executive board members raised a howl, saying that they do not know why Phisgoc included their names in its organizational structure.

POC 1st vice president Joey Romasanta, POC 2nd vice president Jeff Tamayo and POC auditor Jonne Go questioned their inclusion in the list that tags them as directors.

Romasanta has been very vocal about his opposition to Phisgoc, which was created without the knowledge of the POC executive council.

He explained that Phisgoc was not the same body that was tasked by former POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco to lead the country’s hosting of the SEA Games.

In its Articles of Incorporation filed before the Securities and Exchange Commission, it shows that Vargas, Carrasco, Gregorio and former POC communications director Ed Picson as well as Cayetano allies like Suzara, Monica Mitra, Donaldo Caringal and Dexter Estacio established Phisgoc to arrogate for itself the functions and responsibilities exclusively reserved for the POC being the franchise holder of the SEA Games.

“My inclusion in the organizational chart of Phisgoc was made without my consent,” said Romasanta, saying that he didn’t sign any appointment paper and attended only three meetings in an advisory capacity.

“It came to a surprise to me to learn about my inclusion in the Phisgoc organizational structure as co-opted (whatever that means) director of protocol and international relations. I am not aware nor received any appointment papers for any position in Phisgoc.”

Go echoed Romasanta’s statement, claiming that she didn’t receive a single centavo from the organization.

“Unlike other POC members who admitted to be part of Phisgoc, we do not have anything that signifies our acceptance to the position,” Go said, referring to POC director Cynthia Carrion and former POC deputy secretary general Karen Caballero who confirmed their employment in previous Daily Tribune interviews.

“We also did not receive any compensation from them.”

Romasanta stressed that he doubts if the President knows about his appointment.

After all, the Chief Executive stressed that he is not in favor of having a private body like Phisgoc leading the SEA Games hosting and handling billions of government money.

“There’s a certain protocol that you have to follow before you can have the President of the Republic as chairman emeritus. I doubt if Phisgoc followed that,” Romasanta said.

“Also, I doubt if there is really a paper saying that the President accepted the role as ‘chairman emeritus’ of Phisgoc. If ever there is, it would be interesting if Phisgoc will present it.”