After the glitzy opening, don’t forget issues


    I ENJOYED watching the opening ceremonies of the 30th Southeast Asian Games. Salute to director Floy Quintos. Just enough dazzle to showcase the beauty of Philippine culture.

    I like the use of the iconic song “Manila, Manila” by the 70s band Hotdog as the athletes entered the arena. It set a happy and bouncy mood for the event.

    Presidential daughter Sara Duterte Carpio exposed her parochial mind when she complained through her Instagram account, “Di po ba Philippine flag ang dala? Why would you play the song Manila? Did Lapu-Lapu die for Manila? Wag po natin gawing excuse ang upbeat danceable song. Kami nag-imbento ng budots. Kaloko man oi.”

    Dennis Garcia, the other half of the brothers who formed the band, explained in his Facebook post, “Rene & I created ‘Manila,’ not thinking of ourselves as Tagalogs, Bisayans or Ilokanos but as Filipinos missing the Philippines.”

    Manila is the country’s traditional premier city. Even in diplomatic reporting, Manila is used to refer to the Philippine government’s official action as Beijing is used for China, Tokyo for Japan, Washington D.C. for the United States, etc. etc.

    We wish the 30th SEA Games success in promoting and upholding its reason for being, which is to provide opportunities to develop skills and character and foster friendships among the peoples of participating countries.

    It is in this context that the corruption and incompetence issues raised against officials of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee should not be forgotten after the Games. The government owes that to the Filipino people who shouldered the P6 billion price tag.

    The President’s statements have not been reassuring that officials concerned would be made accountable.

    Sure, he said “investigate” but at the same breath he practically cleared House Speaker Alan Cayetano, the committee’s chairman, of accountability for the reported overpriced cauldron and pre-opening mess.

    In a media interview on Nov. 28 in Malacañang, Duterte was asked about the accountability of Cayetano, who was his running mate in the 2016 elections and one of his election contributors.

    Duterte said, “Yes, he has to answer. But I do not think that corruption is… I do not — I am sure Cayetano is not involved in corruption.”

    He added: “Pero yung binigyan niya ng task, ask, tatlo ‘yang body eh. ‘Yung POC pati ‘yung kay Bambol Tolentino. These are guys… Ramirez has been with me ever since mayor ako.

    He is from Davao. He used to be the — ‘yung coach ng Ateneo de Davao. “

    He stressed: “No, no. I am not — I am not investigating Cayetano and the
    rest. I’m just trying to find out because I think — I said the money must not have been properly disbursed kasi… I know that Cayetano cannot handle everything. He has to delegate this…”

    Who would be investigated then if “Cayetano and the rest” are exempted?

    Duterte said retired auditors will compose the investigating team. He mentioned his “fraternity brothers.”

    Naloko na. Remember the P50 million extortion case at the Bureau of Immigration involving Duterte’s San Beda fraternity brothers?