SEAG organizers face graft probe

Ombudsman Samuel Martires on Monday said he has created a seven-member fact-finding panel to look into allegations of corruption involving members of the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee and other concerned agencies.

READ: Duterte: Probe SEAG snafu

“If evidence warrants the filing of a case of corruption, then we will do so,” he said, vowing an impartial investigation.

“All agencies covered would be investigated since there was one source of money that flowed. PHISGOC is included,” he said, referring to the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee. “We cannot be selective.”

PHISGOC is chaired by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and several private individuals.

The country is hosting the 2019 SEA Games with a P7.5-billion budget.

Cayetano welcomed the looming Ombudsman investigation over the conduct of the Southeast Asian Games.

Cayetano said the investigation will put an end to the criticisms and other snide comments about the games’ organizers made “mostly by administration haters in social media.”

He said the Ombudsman investigation will give the organizers an opportunity to put to rest all questions about the games.

Even before the games started, two senators said they would seek a Senate investigation into the conduct of the games as well as the expenditures that the organizers incurred.

In a statement, Cayetano said: “Two weeks ago, when the SEA Games was under attack by groups out to discredit the government with fake news reports of unpreparedness and corruption, I already announced that we not only welcome but are ourselves calling for an investigation by the proper agencies at the right time to clear the air about these unfounded allegations.”

READ: Speaker blames senator for SEAG budget delay

In the same statement, Cayetano said he welcomed the Ombudsman investigation “as an opportunity to put to rest all the questions” so that Filipinos could move forward in celebrating the success of their athletes.

He added that he would fully support all investigations as he ordered “full transparency, audits and opening of all books.”

He also said: “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.”

READ: Logistical snafu greets athletes

Topics: Samuel Martires , Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee , Alan Peter Cayetano , 2019 SEA Games
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