Cayetano: Delayed SEA Games budget to blame for flubs

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 25) — House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano says preparations for the country's hosting of the Southeast Asian Games could have gone much smoother if the Senate passed the budget for it earlier.

Speaking to military officers Monday, Cayetano also slammed Senator Franklin Drilon for questioning the SEA Games budget when he moved to reduce it during deliberations for the 2019 national budget.

"It was Senator Drilon who moved the budget of the SEA Games to the PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) and it was Senator Drilon who proposed cutting it by 33 percent only a few months before. (It was) ₱7.5 billion, pero siya ang nagli-lead ng criticism, 'di ba? And siyempre andun ako sa Senate, alangan namang magbastusan kami. So, nakukuwento ko lang 'yan in context that we need better communication," he said.

[Translation: It was Senator Drilon who moved the budget of the SEA Games to the PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) and it was Senator Drilon who proposed cutting it by 33 percent only a few months before. (It was) ₱7.5 billion, but he led the criticism, right? And because I was at the Senate, I could not be rude. I told that story in the context that we need better communication.]

Earlier in the day, Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero also blamed Drilon for the problems in hosting the SEA Games, saying organizing the athletic meet would've gone smoother if the Senate quickly passed the national budget for this year.

The 2019 General Appropriations Act's passage was delayed by four months over disagreements between the Senate and the House of Representatives over the alleged illegal insertions by congressmen.

Cayetano appeared before the Senate on November 19 to defend the cost of the construction of the cauldron which would serve as the giant torch for the Games.

Cayetano is the chairman of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC). The private group is on top of preparations for the country's hosting of the SEA Games this year.

Drilon had called out the ₱50-million cost of the cauldron, questioning if the expense was "appropriate."

RELATED: Senate recalls BCDA budget over questions on SEA Games facilities

CNN Philippines Melissa Luz Lopez and Pia Garcia contributed to this report.