Taguig-Pateros Representative and former speaker Alan Peter Cayetano can take solace in the fact that leader-delegates from different Southeast Asian (SEA) countries found the Philippines’ hosting of the SEA Games last year as praiseworthy.
This, as Cayetano continued his tough talk against those who may end up investigating the 2019 event for possible anomalies.
It was only last Wednesday, November 11, when Cayetano turned over the final report book of the 30th SEA Games, which he oversaw in his capacity as Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) chairman.
Chris Chan, secretary-general of Singapore’s National Olympic Committee (NOC), acknowledged that Phisgoc, the Philippine Organizing Committee (POC), and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) managed to hold the “largest SEA Games ever.”
“Noting that this has been the largest SEA Games ever with 56 sports and 530 events spread over three main clusters and other online areas, I would say it was a big job done very well,” Chan said.
The Philippines accomplished this despite not having hosted a major sporting event in the last 14 years, he noted. Mother Nature threw in a hurdle as well.
“The smile of the Filipino people and warm hospitality everywhere we went and not just in the Games venue was the sunshine which overwhelmed the rain,” he said, referring to Typhoon Kammuri, known locally as Typhoon Tisoy, that hit the country shortly after the launch of the 2019 SEA Games.
Dato Nazifuddin of NOC Malaysia echoed Chan’s sentiment. “We appreciate the SEA Games being the biggest in history, [which allowed] many sports to participate,” Nazifuddin said.
Meanwhile, Athletics Stadium and Aquatics Center Technical Director Ibrahim Nada commended the 2,000-seater state-of-the-art Aquatic Complex at the New Clark City, which hosted a total of 135 swimmers from 11 countries during the biennial games. The complex is capable of hosting national and international swimming, diving, water polo, and artistic swimming competitions, he reckoned.
“I hope the New Clark City Aquatic Complex will inspire and motivate Filipino athletes and will have a favorable impact in their future performance and will raise the competition standard in the Philippines,” he said.
Nada said he was also impressed by the Filipinos’ work ethic. “Technical officials, staff members, and volunteers performed with the highest degree of professionalism, clearly supporting the delegation members within the venue. They also provided the support required for an excellent event production.”
In his speech during the turnover ceremony for the SEAG final report, Cayetano practically dared the senators to probe him if they believe something wasn’t above board during the hosting of the event.
“If there are Senators or if anyone wants to meet my challenge, why not? May oras ako ngayon. Isa-isahin natin, at ‘pag may nakita kayo, ikulong n’yo ako or itigil natin ‘to kung ni singko kumita kami dito. But kung hindi, ano naman ang penalty n’yo? Mag-reresign kayo (I have time now. Let’s go through them one by one and if you find something wrong, jail me, but let’s stop this if it turns out we didn’t even pocket a penny. But if nothing’s wrong, what would be your penalty? You should resign),” he said.
Cayetano recalled that he even prodded his Speakership rival, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, to investigate him. This was after Velasco told President Duterte in a Palace meeting over a month ago that he wanted to probe Phisgoc in connection with alleged SEAG controversies.
“Pare paimbestigahan mo na. Tapos ‘pag may nakita ka, hindi lang ako magre-resign as Speaker. I’ll resign as Congressman. Kahihiyan ko na ‘yun kung may makita kang anomalya. Pero kung walang anomalya ikaw ang magre-resign ha (Have it investigated. If you find an anomaly, I would not only resign as Speaker. I’ll resign as Congressman. It would be my shame if you ever find anomaly. But if you don’t find any, you should be the one to resign),” Cayetano said, repeating what he told Velasco.
Velasco took over the speakership from Cayetano on October 13.