Lacson: ‘Wrong to assume we’re accusing Phisgoc of corruption’
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson stressed Friday that it was “wrong to assume we are already accusing Phisgoc (Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee) of committing corruption.”
This comes after Phisgoc chair and Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano denied allegations of corruption in the P6-billion budget for the country’s hosting of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
“Nang sinabi nating may issue ang Phisgoc, wala namang nagsabing may corruption issue. We’re not yet there. Even Senator Franklin Drilon, when he pointed out the P50-million cauldron, he never said may attendant corruption sa paggawa ng cauldron,” he told reporters in an interview after the bicameral conference committee held its first meeting for the proposed 2020 national budget in Makati City.
(When we said there are issues in Phisgoc, no one said corruption was the issue. We’re not yet there. Even Senator Franklin Drilon, when he pointed out the P50-million cauldron, he never said there was attendant corruption in the construction of the cauldron).
“So it is wrong to assume we are already accusing Phisgoc of committing corruption,” he added.
He also clarified his earlier statement likening the transfer of P1.5 billion funds to Phisgoc, a private foundation, to the P10-billion pork barrel racket which involved businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
“Ang sa akin lang, point out ko, analogous lang sa mga cases na (My point is, it is analogous with cases) now pending in the Sandiganbayan and those that had already been resolved. Like the case of former Commissioner Padaca,” Lacson went on.
He was referring to former Isabela Governor Grace Padaca who was recently found guilty of graft and malversation in connection to her involvement in the alleged misuse of some P25 million in agricultural funds in 2006.
The case stemmed from the award of P25 million to the Economic Development for Western Isabela and Northern Luzon Foundation, Inc. (EDWINLFI) to manage a credit facility for rice farmers, which allegedly came without public bidding.
“When she was governor, ang coffers ng probinsya nalagay sa isang private foundation. ‘Yan ang issue roon,” Lacson noted.
(When she was governor, her province’s coffer was lodged in a private foundation. That’s the issue there).
“I’d like to emphasize na walang nag-a-accuse (no one’s accusing). Nobody’s accusing Phisgoc may (there’s) corruption issue. There’s none,” he added.
Nevertheless, the senator said that should there be any referral to the Senate blue ribbon committee to conduct a probe in the government’s spending for the 2019 SEA Games, the body “will conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation.”
Asked what the Senate would look into, Lacson said: “All aspects. Pati ang transfer ng pondo ng (Even the transfer of) government funds sa (to a) private foundation, which is Phisgoc.”
“Yan lang ang issue ko. And I’m not accusing them na may misspending unlike what (Phisgoc chief operating officer Ramon) Suzara pointed out na ina-accuse ko silang may misspending or misspent funds. Wala naman akong sinabing ganoon,” he added.
(That’s my only issue. And I’m not accusing them of misspending unlike what (Phisgoc chief operating officer Ramon Suzara pointed out that I’m accusing them of misspending funds. I did not say anything like that).
Edited by KGA
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