House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano welcomed the Ombudsman’s investigation into the controversies hounding the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games).
“Today, three days before we close the competitions, the office of the Ombudsman has announced that they will conduct an investigation,” Cayetano said in a statement posted on his official Facebook page.
“We welcome this as an opportunity to put to rest all the questions so that we may move forward in celebrating the success of our athletes and honoring the sacrifices of our workforce and volunteers,” he added.
Cayetano, who chairs the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) Foundation Inc., said he will fully support all investigations, as he ordered for full transparency, audits, and opening of all books.
He insisted that there are no anomalies in the country’s preparation for the SEA Games, noting that thousands of Filipinos have worked hard and faithfully to make the event the “success that it is.”
Cayetano said he took on the task to organize the biennial regional multisport event despite expected criticisms he may face because he wanted to showcase “what a unified Filipino nation is capable of doing.”
“When I was asked to help organize the SEA Games, I was told not only how difficult it would be but also that cases would be filed no matter how strict we are in conducting our affairs. In fact, those who organized 2005 SEA Games are still fighting cases filed against them,” Cayetano said.
“But I did not hesitate simply because I knew this is not about me. This is about representing the country, and I have never shied away from that,” he added.
The Phisgoc chair also warned those who plotted against the SEA Games and put politics over the country, as well as those who spread fake news and malicious lies, that they will be held accountable.
“As we are ready to meet all these accusations, I am also issuing fair warning to all those who plotted against the SEA Games and put politics over country; those who espoused and spread fake news and malicious lies,” he said.
“Personally, I forgive you, but for the national interest there is accountability and a reckoning,” he added.
Ombudsman Samuel Martires said a seven-member body would be created to conduct a fact-finding investigation on how the SEA Games funds were handled. (PNA)