Duterte wants PHISGOC out of SEA Games preps due to corruption claims – Palace

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(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 16) — President Rodrigo Duterte wants to bar the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) from handling the country’s hosting of this year’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, his spokesman said Tuesday.

Salvador Panelo, in his media briefing, said the chief executive’s decision stemmed from the alleged irregularities hounding the private foundation, currently headed by Taguig Representative Alan Peter Cayetano.

“He said that he doesn't want the foundation,” the spokesperson told reporters in Malacañang.

Gusto niya gobyerno. Sabi niya maraming corruption diyan sa private kaya nasisira 'yung diskarte noong mga nandiyan. Kaya gusto niya gobyerno na lang,”

[Translation: He wants government agencies to handle it instead. He said there’s a lot of corruption in the private sector that’s why their strategies are being disrupted.]

Panelo, however, noted the President has yet to mention other government agencies which could help in the preparations.

The PHISGOC earlier assured concerned parties, including chefs de mission from the 11 participating nations that internal issues won’t hamper the Philippines’ hosting of the biennial contest.

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While Duterte has yet to order an investigation into the corruption claims, Panelo said a probe is highly likely.

“He didn't mention that but as matter of standard procedure, when there is corruption, supposed to be the agencies concerned in the investigation will have to delve into that without being asked by the President,” Panelo said.

The spokesman clarified that Cayetano, whom the President recently endorsed as speaker of the House of Representatives, was not mentioned to be part of corruption claims as he just “entered recently.” Panelo added Cayetano may also have a difficult time juggling his duties as head of the organizing committee as well as a Congressman.

Baka mahirapan na si Congressman Cayetano kung siya na ang magiging speaker. How can he even have time for that?”

The 2019 SEA Games, which will feature a record 56 sports, will happen from November 30 through December 10.

CNN Philippines' Ina Andolong and Alyssa Rola contributed to this report.