Duterte: No corruption in construction of SEA Games cauldron

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FILE PHOTO

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 20) — President Rodrigo Duterte shrugs off allegations that there was any wrongdoing involved in the construction of Southeast Asian Games cauldron.

Speaking to media at the Heroes Hall in Malacañang Tuesday, Duterte said, "There can never be corruption in that situation because you commissioned a national artist."

National Artist for Architecture Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa designed the cauldron, which has become a controversial subject over the last few days after it was revealed that it cost ₱50 million to design and build.

On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon called out the construction of the 50-meter cauldron right beside the newly-built New Clark City Athletics Stadium, asking if the expense was "appropriate."

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who is the chairman of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) — the private group in charge of the preparations for this yea's SEA Games — defended the expense, saying it was for "a work of art."

Duterte seemed to agree with Cayetano, saying the cauldron was "a product of the mind," likening it to a painting.

"Walang extravagance diyan [There is no extravagance there]," said the President.

The 3-meter wide cauldron will hold the SEA games flame for the duration of the sports event. The country spent ₱4.4 million for its design, ₱13.4 million for the foundation, and ₱32 million for its construction.

Duterte also took a swipe at Drilon by bringing up the issue of the Iloilo Convention Center, which embroiled the senator in allegations of malversation and plunder. Drilon was absolved of all charges in 2015.

"Ilang kilometro magawa sa presyo sa (convention center) ni Drilon? Is it used every day? Well, if it is used and making money, fine. But how many kilometers of these public structures there in Iloilo kung ginamit 'yun to cement all the highways there?" he said.

[Translation: How many kilometers of road could have been built with the cost of Drilon's convention center? Is it used every day? Well, if it is used and making money, fine. But how many kilometers of these public structures there in Iloilo if the money was ussed to cement all the highways there?]