- in Opinion

News must travel a bit slower behind bars, because detained Senator Leila de Lima has only just now filed a resolution seeking to investigate alleged irregularities in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games hosting. Observant readers might recall similar initiatives previously filed by De Lima’s colleagues, Franklin Drilon and Ping Lacson or the investigation which already happened, and which turned up nothing. Now that Drilon and Lacson have backtracked their backing of the unsubstantiated claims against the SEA Games, De Lima has stepped into the spotlight.

According to de Lima’s Senate Resolution No. 274, filed on 16 December, failing to investigate these supposed issues could “translate to even greater problems” in the country’s sports programs. Like Drilon and Lacson, de Lima failed to substantiate her grounds for the resolution. Instead, she alluded to vague and already disproven so-called reports of “disorganization, incompetence, and inefficiency”.

“While problems of disorganization, incompetence, and inefficiency can be resolved through institutional mechanisms, what cannot be countenanced is the scandalous probability that in the middle of all this disorganization and incompetence, certain high public officials still might have enriched themselves in the procurement of government contracts for the hosting of the games,” De Lima said.

However, readers should again be reminded that an investigation into any possible lapses in bidding, logistics, and other issues that De Lima widely refers to has already been conducted by the body of which De Lima still calls herself a member. And again, this investigation showed that there were no anomalies in the hosting.

The basis for De Lima’s resolution is the same unsubstantiated allegations that prompted the first investigation. However, since the time of the first look until the filing of De Lima’s resolution, these claims have gone from unsubstantiated to proven false. So not only is De Lima wasting everyone’s time to attempt to grandstand, she’s doing it on a dead horse that everyone else has buried already.

While we understand the struggle facing the detained opposition senator as she attempts to cling to relevancy, we would also like to advise her to spend her time in a more productive manner. Maybe something that actually helps the country. She can start with fact-checking exercises as practice for the next time she wants to file a mema resolution.

De Lima is not the first opposition senator to try and build a spotlight out of attacking the SEA Games on unsubstantiated social media fake news. She will probably not be the last either. It is unlikely that the opposition will ever be able to swallow the runaway success of the SEA Games. They cannot see the massive international praise it has brought. They are blind to the numerous investments and returns it has brought our economy. When we see fireworks and amazing performances, they zero in on logistical details that could happen to any major event (but were still addressed in a professional and timely manner by those accountable). It’s obvious that they’re nitpicking because they have nothing else to say and no valid criticism to throw. But of course, how can they let this opportunity go to criticize the administration and attack House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who led the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC).

Besides the expected benefits of the SEA Games, out hosting is also doing one last favor to the country – flushing out the crab-mentality plagued critics who are obviously favoring themselves over the nation. If you can’t see that the Games were a good thing for the Philippines, then you are intentionally blind at this point. Let’s see who else steps up to bat after De Lima’s sad attempt. Risa? Kiko? What about former senator Trillanes – will we be seeing a comeback? Only time will tell.

But for the rest of us, we’re going to enjoy the end of the year knowing that we won as one.

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