MANILA – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon is pushing for an inquiry into the P700-million fund released to a private sector for the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games that will held in the country later this month.
The Ilonggo senator told reporters on Tuesday he will file a Senate resolution seeking an inquiry into government expenses for the biennial event right after its staging on mid-December.
Drilon earlier questioned the “propriety” of spending more than P50 million in public funds to build the cauldron that will be used only once during the SEA Games opening on Nov. 30.
“Sa akin, masyadong extravagant ang mahiwaga at pinakamalaking kaldero sa buong mundo, sa kasaysayan ng ating bansa,” Drilon said.
“We have to support our athletes. ‘Di naman nila kasalanan itong pangaabuso na nakikita natin but it doesn’t mean that we will not question these expenses,” he added.
Drilon also called on the Commission on Audit (COA) to conduct a special inspection of the government’s financial records pertaining to its expenditures for the event.
“Dapat i-audit ng husto ng COA, hindi lang po ito tungkol sa P50-million cauldron, kung hindi ‘yung ibang gastusin,” Drilon said.
“Hinihiling ko po sa COA na magkaroon ng special audit para po matignan ng husto ang ginastos dito sa Southeast Asian Games,” he added.
For his part, Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, said the budget for the construction of the cauldron was lodged with the Philippine Sports Commission.
The cauldron, which has a diameter of three meters, costs P4.48 million to design, while the 50-meter high foundation costs P13.4 million. The cost of construction was pegged at P32 million./PN