PHISGOC saga: Medialdea blasts 'noisy' people questioning his authority
MANILA, Philippines – Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea could not help but take a jab at critics who claimed he did not have President Rodrigo Duterte's blessing when he issued a memorandum circular ordering government agencies to support the embattled Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) Foundation.
At a "call for unity" event amid accusations about PHISGOC and its chairman Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Medialdea blasted "noisy" people for their supposed baseless claims.
"Pati ho 'yung emcee, from the Office of the President. Pati ho 'yung choir from the Office of the President. Full support po ang Presidente sa Philippine sports, hindi kagaya ng minumungkahi ng iba na wala raw po kaming otoridad na mag-issue ng kung ano-anong order," Medialdea said on Wednesday, July 24.
(Even the emcee came from the Office of the President. Even the choir is from the Office of the President. The President has full support for Philippine sports, contrary to what others suggests that I did not have authority to issue certain orders.)
Without naming anyone, Medialdea said many point fingers and make accusations without contributing to the welfare of Philippine athletes.
"Hinahamon ko 'yung mga maiingay: Magpakita kayo ng tinulong ninyo para sa sports at sa mamayang Pilipino (I challenge the noisy ones: Show us how you've helped sports and Filipino citizens.)," he said.
Medialdea is yet to reply to Rappler's query about who he was referring to. But on Saturday, July 20, Manila Times published a column by Special Envoy for Public Diplomacy to China Ramon Tulfo making such accusations about the Executive Secretary.
"Medialdea, apparently without the President's knowledge, issued Memorandum Circular 56 ordering all government agencies and government-controlled corporations to support the Phisgoc Foundation," wrote Tulfo.
"Why Medialdea, before he became executive secretary, would do that – issue an order to support a private entity – is a P64-million question," he continued.
MC No 56 was signed by Medialdea, by authority of the President, on January 25.
Duterte, according to the Palace, preferred the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games be handled by the government and not PHISGOC, a private entity.
However, SEA Games hosting has typically been led by incorporated private entities since the job requires handling sponsorship money and incorporation allows them to participate in legal action.
Unity for PH sports
Medialdea, in his Wednesday speech, expressed support for PHISGOC and other organizations that will help with the hosting of the games.
"I am confident PHISGOC, together with Philippines Sports Commission and Philippine Sports Committee will be able to bring this year's SEA games to its outstanding fruition. This is not a call for the support of one organization but a call of support for the Filipino pride," he said.
Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez also called for those involved to rise above squabbles and misunderstandings in order to pull off the hosting.
"We choose a side over our own convictions, over things that divide us, over things that hurt us. We choose to unite and put country and flag topmost of our priorities," said Ramirez.
Meanwhile Cayetano again defended PHISGOC from accusations that it overspent on uniforms. He said a sponsor, Asics, had priced the uniforms higher than those found in their shop because the SEA Games uniforms were of "Olympic quality."
He also said the foundation needed to raise around P1 billion in funds because the Senate had reduced their budget to P5 billion.
Cayetano apologized for the apparent politicization of the SEA Games hosting.
"Let me apologize if the Southeast Asian Games has been politicized for one reason, that I'm a politician. But let's be truthful to each other. There's so much politics in sports," said the lawmaker.
He echoed Medialdea and Ramirez in hoping for unity in the name of Philippine sports. – Rappler.com