MANILA -- The government is in a better position to organize the hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) later this year, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

This after President Rodrigo Duterte, in an exclusive interview with Daily Tribune last week, bared that he would no longer let the privately-formed Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) Foundation Inc. organize the biennial sports meet which has been allotted with a PHP6 billion budget from government.

Duterte said he would “give” the task of organizing the SEAG to the government but did not identify which particular agencies

“He (Duterte) said that he doesn’t want the foundation, gusto niya gobyerno (he wants the government),” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing on Tuesday.

“Sabi niya maraming korapsyon diyan sa private (He said that there is a lot of corruption in the private foundation),” he added.

On Monday (July 15), Panelo said Duterte may issue an executive order (EO) designating concerned agencies such as the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) as organizers of the SEAG.

“Since he made that statement, then that (an EO) is forthcoming. Iyon ang posisyon niya, ayaw niya sa (that’s his position, he doesn’t want the) foundation,” Panelo said.

On Tuesday, Panelo said he has yet to confirm the issuance of an EO with the President and to ask which agencies may lead the hosting of the SEAG.

“I’ll ask him (Tuesday) tonight about that,” Panelo said.

In January this year, Duterte signed Memorandum Circular No. 56 directing all government offices and instrumentalities, including government-owned and -controlled corporations and local government units, to extend their support to the Phisgoc in the preparation, organization, and holding of the SEAG.

PRRD still trusts Cayetano

Panelo said he is scheduled to speak to Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, who heads the Phisgoc, about the issues hounding the privately-formed foundation.

He, however, explained that Cayetano may no longer be involved in the SEAG preparations since he would be busy if he will be elected as next House Speaker.

“Baka mahirapan na si Congressman Cayetano kung siya ang magiging (Congress Cayetano might have a hard time with preparations if he’s going to be) Speaker, how can he even have time for that,” Panelo said.

Panelo, meanwhile, said Duterte’s trust in Cayetano has not diminished despite the chief executive’s decision to bar the Phisgoc from organizing the SEAG.

Duterte earlier announced that he will be endorsing Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco as the next speakers of the House of Representatives under a term-sharing arrangement.

Asked if the President ordered the investigation of Phisgoc because of alleged corruption, Panelo said it is “standard procedure” for concerned agencies to delve into that without being asked by the President.

For the fourth time, the Philippines will be hosting the SEA Games from November 30 to December 11 this year. The country last hosted the regional sports meet in 2005 when it won the overall championship. (PNA)