Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima seeks an inquiry into the delays in the submission of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizational Committee’s (PHISGOC) financial statements and its reported ₱387 million outstanding debt to suppliers in the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
In filing Senate Resolution (SR) No. 557, De Lima underscored the need to determine the cause of delay in the submission of PHISGOC’s financial statements and address the allegations of corruption and mismanagement surrounding the biennial sports meet.
“Given the controversies surrounding the 2019 SEA Games – from allegations of corruption and overspending to logistical nightmares and a bevy of complaints from foreign athletes and delegates – it is imperative for Senate and other agencies with supervision over PHISGOC to look into the matter,” she said.
“A complete financial report will help shed light on these questions surrounding the PHISGOC’s handling of the event,” she added.
Last Sept. 30, over nine months since the conclusion of the SEA Games, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) ordered PHISGOC to submit a comprehensive report on the operations of the 2019 SEA Games, including an audited financial statement by October 10.
The PHISGOC, however, failed to comply with POC’s October 10 deadline, which violated the tripartite agreement it signed with POC and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) in 2019 mandating PHISGOC to “submit to PSC and POC the required financial reports at the conclusion of the 2019 SEA Games.”
In fact, as POC maintained, the rules of the Commission on Audit (COA) require agencies and organizations who are recipients of government financial support to liquidate the funds within sixty days after the completion of the project.
“This meant that the report should have been submitted on 9 February 2020, meaning, that the financial statements were already eight months overdue,” De Lima said. “The POC states that they are asking for the financial statements to enable them to perform their oversight functions, in accordance with their tripartite agreement.”
It may also be recalled that PSC Executive Director Guillermo Iroy Jr. admitted during a Senate hearing that the PHISGOC had asked them to request from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) an additional ₱387 million to pay off outstanding debts to some of the suppliers mobilized for the 2019 SEA Games.
De Lima said it is essential that the financial report be submitted as soon as possible and be made available to the public in the interest of transparency and accountability.
“There is a need to investigate these series of events to determine the cause of delay in the submission of PHISGOC’s financial statements and finally determine the truth behind the allegations of corruption and mismanagement of the PHISGOC during the 2019 SEA Games,” she said.
“There is also a need to ensure that support and funding are given to the agencies that have the proper mandate, and that accountability lies even with private organizations, especially those who have access to government resources,” she added.
De Lima earlier called out the controversial P50-million giant kaldero which was adamantly defended by former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetao who served as Chairperson of PHISGOC.
The lady Senator from Bicol has also filed Senate Resolution No. 274 which seeks to investigate the organizational and administrative problems as well as allegations of corruption that marred the country’s hosting of the 30th SEA Games.