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.

‘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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French billionaire MP Olivier Dessault dies in helicopter crash, 69

By Agence France-Presse

French billionaire Olivier Dassault, a politician and scion of the Dassault aircraft-making family, was killed in a helicopter crash Sunday, with President Emmanuel Macron paying tribute to a captain of industry who “never stopped serving our country”.

Dassault died around 6 pm (1700 GMT) when his aircraft crashed near Deauville in northern France, parliamentary and investigation sources told AFP.

Macron was quick to pay homage to the 69-year-old member of parliament, saying in a tweet that “Olivier Dassault loved France. Captain of industry, local MP, reserve commander in the air force; throughout his life he never stopped serving our country.”

Macron called his death “a great loss” and sent his condolences to Dassault’s family.

Sources close to the crash enquiry said the pilot of the helicopter was also killed, and that no one else was on board.

“I am thinking of his family and loved ones who must feel terrible pain,” said Richard Ferrand, president of the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament in which Dassault served as a representative for the Oise area of northern France.

Many of Dassault’s colleagues on the political right also paid tribute to the son of Serge Dassault and grandson of Marcel Dassault, who built up one of the biggest family fortunes in France.

Allegations ain’t enough: NY guv Cuomo refuses to resign amid sexual harassment scandal

By Agence France-Presse

Embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo dug in further on Sunday, refusing again to resign despite criticism from influential fellow Democrats over a sexual harassment scandal.

“I’m not going to resign because of allegations,” the governor said, speaking after Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the leader of the New York state senate, said he should step down “for the good of the state.”

“There is no way I resign,” Cuomo said.

Stewart-Cousins said in a statement that the harassment allegations against Cuomo by former aides came at a critical time, as the state battles Covid-19 and amid allegations that Cuomo’s administration mishandled its initial pandemic response.

“We need to govern without daily distraction,” Stewart-Cousins said. “Governor Cuomo must resign.”

Carl Heastie, the Democratic leader of the lower chamber, the state assembly, issued a statement shortly afterward saying, “I think it is time for the governor to seriously consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York,” the New York Times reported.

Cuomo, initially praised for his state’s handling of the pandemic, has suffered a spectacular fall from grace, with Republicans and his accusers also calling for his resignation.

One former aide, Lindsey Boylan, has alleged that the governor gave her an unsolicited kiss on the lips and suggested that they play strip poker, allegations he has denied.

“I never touched anyone inappropriately,” Cuomo said Wednesday, while adding that he now understood that he had made his accusers feel “uncomfortable.”

“It was unintentional. And I truly, and deeply apologize,” he said.

State Attorney General Letitia James is leading an inquiry into the allegations.

Lalaki’t babae, pantay! Elevate women in society – Duterte

By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday urged Filipinos to increase the role that women play in society and break remaining barriers for their empowerment.

“Let us elevate women to their rightful place in society by empowering every Filipina to break not only the barriers that have long hindered them from reaching their full potential, but also the backward mindset that fueled a culture of gender oppression and inequality,” Duterte said in his message during the Women’s Month Celebration.

The Chief Executive claimed that his government has taken “concrete, sustainable and inclusive actions” to ensure women’s rights and contributions are recognized.

He likewise enjoined everyone to help amplify the voice of women and promote their participation in the economies to the same level as men.

“While there is still much to be done to completely free women from this bondage of inequality, we can nonetheless proudly claim that concrete, sustainable, and inclusive actions have been taken by our government to create an environment where women’s rights are respected and their contributions to society are recognized,” said Duterte.

“I therefore encourage every Filipino to join us in celebrating the indispensable role of women in our nation’s progress by participating in this month-long celebration and supporting advocacies that seek to fight for and acknowledge the inalienable rights of women as equal partners of men,” he added.

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