Photo shows Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto.
Senate PRIB/Albert Calvelo
I won't be surprised if SEA Games critics are praying that we lose — Sotto
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - December 2, 2019 - 12:29pm

MANILA, Philippines — Amid earlier criticisms directed toward the planning and preparation of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said it would not come as a surprise to him if critics even wish that the country loses in the biennial meet. 

“Sumobra na dunong ng mga pintasero. Pati si Ryan Cayabyab, Jimmy Antiporda, Eloisa Matias and also the group that directed the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics gusto pang pakialaman,” Sotto said in a statement he sent to reporters.

(The fault-finders know too much. Even with Ryan Cayabyab, Jimmy Antiporda, Eloisa Matias and also the group that directed the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics, they found something to comment on.)

Sotto, who was most prominently known as a comedian and actor before entering the Senate, earlier defended the lack of food and accommodations for athletes. For him, this was to be expected from host countries during similar sporting events.

"In the SEA games I've participated in, we were left by the host country to fend for ourselves. If possible, they even make us uncomfortable to make sure we lose to them," Sotto said.

"Why do you think the host country always wins? The host country is not supposed to feed them."

'A divisive issue'

The bi-annual regional games have proven to be a massively polarizing issue as some clamored on social media over what they say are numerous lapses on the part of the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee, which is headed by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano. 

“In the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics, the segment of the Queen and James Bond was pre-recorded. Walang umangal [No one complained],” Sotto said.

“Dito sa atin reklamo ang mga epal bakit daw hiwalay at recorded yun lighting ni Manny [Pacquiao]."

(In the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics, the segment of the Queen and James Bond was pre-recorded. No one complained. Here, the critics complain why the opening was separated from the recorded lighting of the cauldron by Manny Pacquiao.)

House lawmakers, too, have called for unity in the aftermath of what they say is divisive criticism.

Rep. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado (1st District, Bulacan), who chairs the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, urged Filipinos to end what he said was the bashing of PHISGOC's efforts. 

"Hindi ito panahon ng awayan. Hindi ito panahon ng pasikatan o pasaringan.  Ito ay panahon ng pagtutulong-tulong, pagkakaisa para sa ating minimithi na mas maganda at mas ligtas na bansang Pilipinas," he said.

(This isn't a time for fighting. This isn't a time for hogging attention, or for censorship. This is a time for working together as one for our ambition of a safer and more beautiful Philippines.) 

But even presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio found fault in the aforementioned opening ceremony. The incumbent Davao City mayor posted on her Instagram account Sunday a scathing criticism about the song choice of "Manila" by Filipino band Hotdogs. 

"We should be inclusive when we want to encourage our countrymen to cheer," she added. "I am a Filipino but I don't have one drop of Tagalog blood in me."

According to Duterte, the song was not representative of Filipinos who did not hail from the nation's capital. 

“I will not be surprised if these people are praying that we do not win!” Sotto said to finish his statement.

The games will run until December 11. As of this writing, Filipino athletes have amassed a total of 44 medals, with half of them being gold. 

SEA GAMES TITO SOTTO III
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