Drilon, Robredo camp hit Cayetano’s ‘all talk’ remarks

Robie de Guzman   •   November 12, 2019   •   290

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon hit House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano for his “totally uncalled for” remarks against Vice President Leni Robredo.

“I am saddened by his statement. Such comments are totally uncalled for, especially coming from the Speaker of the House,” Drilon said in a statement.

Cayetano earlier said that Robredo is “all talk” since her appointment as the co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD).

President Rodrigo Duterte last week designated Robredo to co-lead the government’s body against illegal drugs.

Since then, she has been meeting with several groups to float her ideas to address the country’s drug problem, such as scrapping the “Oplan Tokhang” and implementing a health-based anti-drug campaign.

Instead of criticizing Robredo, Drilon said everyone should support the government’s war on drugs and set aside politics.

“It cannot be denied that illegal drug continues to be a problem, notwithstanding the over 5,000 deaths from Operation Tokhang,” he said.

“The gravity of this issue on illegal drugs calls for everyone to set aside politics. In the remaining two and a half years of the administration, we should all work together to solve this problem,” he added.

The senator also noted that even Malacañang has vowed full support for Robredo as she undertakes this task.

“We expect the allies of this administration to do no less,” he added.

Meanwhile, Robredo’s spokesperson and legal counsel, Barry Gutierrez, said the vice president has only begun doing her new task and told Cayetano to stop criticizing if he can’t help her do her job.

Gutierrez also said the entire government should unite to eradicate illegal drugs in the country.

SEA Games tickets now for free except for three events – PHISGOC

Robie de Guzman   •   November 29, 2019

Fans cheer during the SEA Games 2019 men’s soccer first round match between Philippines and Cambodia in Manila, Philippines, 25 November 2019. EPA-EFE/MARK R. CRISTINO

MANILA, Philippines – Organizers of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games announced on Friday that tickets for most of the sporting events will now be given for free.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who heads the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), said tickets for 53 sporting events that have yet to be sold will be given away.

Cayetano said the organizers’ move is upon the instruction of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“To make sure that all Filipinos who want to watch live and can be physically present sa Games, the organizing committee has decided that all games na hindi pa sold out yung tickets at i-o-open na po, libre na,” Cayetano told reporters.

Duterte on Thursday said the decision on whether to make SEA Games events accessible to the public lies with the organizing committee.

He, however, said that if it were up to him, he would open all events for Filipinos who want to watch and support the country’s athletes participating in the biennial meet.

Cayetano said sports without tickets, including lawn ball, golf and quash will also be open to the public.

However, tickets for basketball, volleyball, and football matches will not be included to the free admission scheme as these are already sold out. The said sporting events will be held in Mall of Asia Arena, PhilSports Arena, Rizal Memorial Stadium and Biñan Football Stadium.

For those who already purchased tickets for the events that are now free will receive treats instead of a refund, PHISGOC chief operating officer Ramon Suzara said.

“We’ll put them in the best location because they bought the tickets already,” he said.

Suzara said those interested to watch the free SEA Games events may get tickets from their respective local governments.

He also reminded spectators to follow security procedures in sporting venues.

In addition, 10,000 free tickets will also be provided for the closing ceremony of the SEA Games which will be held on Dec. 11 at the New Clark City, Tarlac.

Cayetano addresses criticisms, says ready to face probe on SEA Games woes

Marje Pelayo   •   November 28, 2019

 House Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano (R) takes a photo with Filipino athletes during an inspection of the newly built New Clark City Sports Complex, for the South East Asian Games in Capas, Tarlac province, Philippines, 21 November 2019. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday (November 28) defended the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) amid allegations of irregularities in the Philippines’ current hosting of the regional games.

Specifically, Cayateno addressed Senator Panfilo Lacson’s claim that irregularities in the transfer of government funds to PHISGOC was similar to a scheme made by convicted ‘pork barrel’ queen Janet Lim-Napoles.

Cayetano, who acts as PHISGOC chair, refuted Lacson’s allegations saying the committee has always been transparent in its transactions.

“Ang nangyare kay Napoles, peke ang mga delivery. Ninakaw ang pera, (In Napoles’ case, the deliveries were fake, the funds were stolen),” Cayetano explained.

Even so, Cayetano said he is willing to face the investigation should the Senate call for it. However, he asked critics of the organizing committee to wait until the SEA Games is over.

“Ang sabi po ng palasyo, kung may irregularities then there should be an investigation, but there are no irregularities. Despite that, with our promise for transparency, haharapin namin lahat iyan,” Cayetano said.

(The Palace said if there were irregularities then there should be an investigation, but there were no irregularities. Despite that, with our promise of transparency, we will face the probe.)

“We will not hide para madali ninyo kaming i-target (come) December 12 (We will not hide so that you can easily target us come December 12),” he added.

He vowed to personally appear in the investigation to answer all inquiries regarding the alleged mishaps and glitches in the conduct of the SEA Games.

Cayetano also expressed determination to file charges against those who have been spreading “fake news” about the regional sporting event.

“Iyong mga nag-violate ng law na umabot sa libel at cyber libel, yes (Those who violated the law up to the point of committing libel and cyber libel). It’s an obligation. Of course, I need the PHISGOC board to approve it,” Cayetano said.

“But my vote sa PHISGOC is that anything that they try to smear — my name or personality is okay lang kasi personal iyon — but you try to smear the name of the SEA Games or the country you should face (charges),” Cayetano said.

Amid the SEA Games fiasco, Cayetano calls on Filipinos and all critics to set aside negativity and support the Philippine teams and the administration being the host of the regional games.

“Huwag ninyong siraan ang sarili ninyong bansa. Huwag ninyong siraan ang sarili ninyong hosting (Do not defame your own country. Do not smear your own hosting [of the SEA Games]),” he stressed.

“Ipakita naman natin ang kagandahan ng ugaling Pilipino, ang kagandahan ng ating bansa, (Let us show them good Filipino values and the beauty of our country),” he said. – MNP (with inputs from Vincent Arboleda)

Lacson: Robredo should justify need to divulge drug war findings

Robie de Guzman   •   November 26, 2019

Vice President Leni Robredo (L) and Senator Panfilo Lacson (R)

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson believes that Vice President Leni Robredo should justify the need to reveal her findings during her short stint as the co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD).

“Kung gagawin ganoon lalong lalala, ang wedge lalapad. It’s her call. Kailangan justify niya rin,” Lacson told reporters at the Senate on Monday when asked for comment on Robredo’s statement.

“But sa akin I don’t think it’s still necessary. What for? Dahil binigyan ka ng katungkulan na gagampanan mo, ngayong natanggal ka, isisiwalat mo ang mga natuklasan mo?” he added.

The senator said if the information will help improve the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, then Robredo should reveal it “by all means.”

“Depende sa anong isisiwalat niya. If it is to destroy or impede ang anti-illegal drugs campaign, huwag naman sana,” he said.

“Pero kung natuklasan niya para ma-enhance ang fight against illegal drugs, then by all means,” he added.

Lacson also said that if Robredo plans to divulge mistakes that would make some people criminally liable then she should have done it while she was still holding the post.

“Pero kung may nakita siyang pagkakamali that would point to several persons that could be held criminally liable, dapat noong nasa position siya,” he said.

The vice president earlier vowed to remain determined to end the killings under the government’s war on drugs despite her termination as ICAD’s co-chairperson.

She also promised to report to the public some information about the drug war and her recommendations.

Over the weekend, Malacañang confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte has fired Robredo in response to the opposition’s dare to remove her from post due to lack of trust.

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