Even Liberation Philippines, the official newsletter of the underground revolutionary group National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), expressed support to Filipino athletes who have begun competing in the 30th South East Asian Games.
In a social media card posted on its Facebook page, Liberation encouraged the Filipino people to continue supporting the Filipino athlete amid allegations of corruption in the Philippine hosting of the biennial regional sports spectacle.
The image showed a triumphant looking female athlete holding up a Philippine flag.
“The Filipino people should continue to support the Filipino athlete. Their outrage is directed at the evil Duterte-Cayetano combine,” the long-lasting underground publication said, quoting a statement issued by NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison last November 25.
In one of his several reactions to the controversies surrounding the games’ hosting, Sison expressed disgust at the Philippine government’s “naked and shameless incompetence, waste and plunder of public funds in the mismanagement of the hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.”
‘Cayetano should resign’
Sison urged the entire Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), led by House of Representatives Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, to resign and be replaced by “a Filipino Olympian, a World Record holder or a Former National Athlete, with known administrative skills and with a competent team” who could “quickly assess the situation.”
Sison expressed confidence that the SEA Games can still be saved, adding, however, “it will require Herculean efforts and strong national unity that could only come from a high sense of patriotism and credible new leadership.”
He said Cayetano and his entire committee should all be investigated and prosecuted.
Cayetano for his part has repeatedly apologized for the problems besetting the hosting of the games, including unfinished venues, mismanagement of athletes’ accommodations and food, even allegations of overpriced installations and apparel.
He, however, blamed the Senate for the delay in the approval of the games’ budget, an allegation immediately refuted by his Senate counterpart Vicente Sotto III.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte also expressed anger at the fiascos surrounding the games.
“The blunders could have been avoided. Those are actually easy to address. That’s why the President is angry,” Panelo told reporters at the sidelines of the president’s trip in South Korea Tuesday, November 26.
‘Plague afflicting Philippine sports’
In light of the government’s blame games, however, Sison said, “it is time to re-examine and finally end the corrupt bureaucrat capitalist rule of reactionary politicians, retired military generals and oligarchs in Philippine sports who thrive on stealing public funds.”
“They are the plague afflicting Philippine sports. Their corruption takes away from athletes the leadership roles, state funding and competent management of their national associations.,” Sison said.
“Left on their own and with adequate state and public support, our athletes can do better in looking after their own development and welfare than the likes of Cayetano,” he added.
Sison said that while it turns out the P50-million cauldron could be the most scandalous problem that arose from the games, investigations to be held may reach up to the highest office in government.
“[I]t should light up the paper trails of corruption, ineptitude and mismanagement that lead to and incriminate the Office of the President and the Office of the House Speaker,” Sison said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)