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‘Di sinabing ginalaw pondo! Ping says Phisgoc took his statements out of context

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Instead of issuing press releases that tend to muddle the issue further, the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) – the organizers of the ongoing Southeast Asian (SEA) Games – should do some fact-checking first.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson issued this advice to the PHISGOC as he pointed out he never said the organizers mishandled the budget for the 30th SEA Games, much less likened them to convicted plunderer Janet Lim-Napoles.

“Nothing can be farther than the truth. I did not say there’s anomalous spending involving PhiSGOC. Mr. Suzara (Ramon Suzara, PHISGOC chief operating officer) should first check his facts,” Lacson said in a post on his Twitter account (https://twitter.com/iampinglacson/status/1199958023105474561).

Lacson was referring to Suzara’s press release, screenshots of which were posted by Philstar.com on Thursday.

Suzara, in the press release, claimed Lacson alleged that the transfer of P1.5 billion in public funds from the Philippine Sports Commission to PHISGOC, a private foundation headed by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, was questionable and could be compared to Napoles’ pork barrel scam.

Also, Suzara claimed the delay in the approval of the 2019 budget gave them little time to prepare for the Games.

But Lacson pointed out Suzara took his statement – that the transfer of P1.5 billion in government funds to a private foundation may be questionable – out of context.

“The context of my statement is that the Napoles issue likewise involved private foundations as conduits,” Lacson told GMA News late Thursday, referring to the 2013 pork barrel case where pork funds of lawmakers were channeled to fake NGOs created by Napoles.

In a separate tweet, Lacson pointed out nobody is saying PHISGOC has committed corruption, as an investigation has yet to be conducted.

“Nobody is saying that PhiSGOC has committed corruption. We’re not there yet. What’s evident so far are the complaints aired by the athletes which project incompetence and inefficiency that the President, no less wants rectified and investigated,” he said (https://twitter.com/iampinglacson/status/1199875089174421504).

During a Senate media forum last week, Lacson pointed out he would rather reserve discussions on problems regarding the SEA Games until after the Games.

“There’s a time for that. I’d rather that we discuss that or even investigate after the Games. Kasi baka pati ang mga athletes natin maapektuhan, di maka-focus, kasi baka magkaroon ng perception mali o tama, pero nasa isip nila hindi sila maka-focus sa Games. Pati organizers baka madiskaril ang focus nila para maging maayos ang pagdadaos ng Games sa atin,” he said at the Kapihan sa Senado forum last Nov. 21.

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