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Opinion

The Olympics and the SEA Games

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

Retired police general Cris Maralit, who settled down in the United States, was right when he directed a tirade at our officials who managed the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

Maralit compared the opening ceremonies of the 2019 SEA Games to the opening rites of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, delayed to this year due to the pandemic.

The following is Maralit’s comment on his Facebook wall:

“Did you watch the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremonies and the traditional lighting of the Olympic flame by tennis superstar Naomi Osaka? Did it strike you how classy and beautiful the Olympic cauldron is? It’s well worth the money spent (rather) than the P50-M (SEA) Games kaldero so proudly trumpeted by the man from Taguig. Mukhang palito ng posporo (It’s like a matchstick) kapag nakatabi ng (if placed next to the) Olympic flame. Iba talaga pag walang kurakot (It’s really different when there is no corruption), Hats off to the Japanese Olympics Organizing Committee!”

Cris, comparing Japanese officials who manage the Olympics with our local officials who supervised the 2019 SEA Games is like comparing a Lexus car to our tricycle.

There just isn’t any comparison.

The Japanese are known for their vaunted honesty, like returning handbags full of cash left on a train, bus or at a park.

But Pinoys? They steal from you the moment you turn your back on them. I’m sorry to say that because it sounds unpatriotic, but it’s true!

Here’s a joke I chanced upon in someone else’s Facebook wall that may well drive home my point:

“I’m a politician and an honest man,” said the politician to his date at the dinner table.”

“Well, I’m a prostitute and a virgin,” replied the woman.

*      *      *

Whatever happened to the investigation into the 2019 SEA Games overpricing?

There was much to-do over the reported gross overpricing of the expenses at the SEA Games, including the P50-million Games cauldron, mockingly called a kaldero (cooking pot) by critics.

But the investigation called for by some senators fizzled out in deference, apparently, to then Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who oversaw the Games.

You know how it is: inter-parliamentary courtesy.

The theft of hundreds of millions of pesos at the SEA Games by its officials has been shelved.

The irregularities, like others before it, have been swept under the carpet.

Meanwhile some journalists, including this columnist, are facing libel charges filed by Cayetano’s subordinates at the SEA Games.

For reporting the truth, this is our reward.

*      *      *

Hidilyn Diaz, our first-ever Olympic gold medalist, has been promised a total of P35.5 million by a grateful nation.

Tycoons Ramon S. Ang and Manny V. Pangilinan both pledged P10 million each or a total of P20 million.

The government has promised P10 million, as mandated by law, for Diaz for her Olympic gold medal.

Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero promised P3 million from his pocket.

Zamboanga City, Hidilyn’s hometown, pledged P2.5 million.

A house and lot in Tagaytay City await Diaz from Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham Tolentino.

Diaz is sure about the P20 million from both RSA and MVP because they’re known as men of their word.

But the others? We’ll have to see about that.

After all the euphoria has died down, some people might forget their promise.

Look what happened to Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco, who won the silver in boxing in the 1996 Olympics held in Atlanta, Georgia.

Onyok was promised the moon for his silver medal but eventually only got fireflies in a jar.

The country’s 10th Congress never handed Onyok the P2.5 million it pledged to him.

A businessman who pledged a lifetime allowance of P10,000 to the lone 1996 Olympic silver medalist for the Philippine team stopped the allowance after a year.

The Philippine Navy, where Onyok was a petty officer first class, promised scholarships for his two children; the promise was never fulfilled.

Onyok was given a house and lot by another businessman, but the title to the property has yet to be given to him.

Is this the ningas cogon mentality among Filipinos?

Ningas cogon is a brushfire that gets extinguished in an instant.

*      *      *

Hidilyn trained mostly in Taiwan and Malaysia for the Olympics.

She had little training in the country because she was distracted by accusations that she took part in destabilizing the administration of President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte.

Little is known who funded her training abroad.

Aren’t we embarrassed for claiming Hidilyn’s victory when we didn’t support her training?

*      *      *

Presidential Legal Adviser Sal Panelo’s apology to Hidilyn Diaz sucks.

Panelo linked the female athlete to a destabilization plot in 2019 against Digong but justified his action saying that he only presented the matrix – whatever that means – upon instructions of the President.

Nanglaglag pa! He blames the President for it.

For an apology to be complete, there should be no justification for the misdeed towards the person who was hurt.

*      *      *

Heard through the grapevine:

Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio is not really interested in running for either president or vice president.

She just wants to nettle or annoy Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go who, she thinks, has presidential ambitions.

But Go, a long-time special assistant to Digong and still his trusted aide, can’t be annoyed as he has been saying he’s not interested in running for a higher office.

However, should Digong decide to run for vice president, he would definitely choose Bong Go over Inday Sara for his runningmate.

Why does it seem that Sara has bad blood with Bong G.? That’s because she and her siblings can’t go straight to Digong without passing through Bong.

It’s not Go’s fault; Digong wants it that way.

SEA GAMES TOKYO OLYMPICS
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