A seven-member panel from the Office of the Ombudsman has began a probe on the alleged corruption in the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Ombudsman Samuel Martires revealed Monday.
Martires said the probe will cover all agencies involved in the Philippines hosting of the biennial regional sports meet, including the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), which is headed by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.
“Hindi tayo pwedeng maging selective sa ating investigation. We have to see kung anong participation ng bawat official involved in the Southeast Asian Games,” Martires told reporters.
[Translation: We cannot be selective in our investigation. We have to see what is the participation of every official involved in the SEA Games.]
He did not give a specific timeframe for when the probe will be completed, only saying that it would depend on how many documents would be involved in the investigation and if these would be readily available.
“Kapag may nakitang ebidensiya [If we find any evidence,] we will be forced to file a case against those officials involved dito sa [in this] alleged corruption,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte has said that he wants an investigation into the alleged corruption in the country’s hosting of the SEA Games, after questions rose about the government’s expenses for the biennial regional sports meet, especially for the ₱50-million cauldron.
Four months before the formal opening of the SEA Games, Duterte has also raised concerns about corruption in the PHISGOC, going as far as planning to keep its hands off the sports meet.
Duterte, however, has cleared Cayetano of corruption, ahead of a formal investigation.
Cayetano has said he is ready to face a probe into the corruption allegations hurled at PHISGOC.
He, along with other House lawmakers, are also planning to launch a probe into the supposed proliferation of negative and false information about the SEA Games.