Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go reiterated Monday that he had nothing to do with the Frigate Acquisition Project, which he said became controversial due to “irresponsible reporting”.
In the Senate inquiry into the PHP18-biliion warship acquisition project, Go said the most difficult thing to do is to answer an allegation that he has no knowledge of.
“Sa totoo lang po, sobrang hirap sagutin ang mga bintang na wala ka naming kinalaman,” he told the senators.
Go said the deal “was done just before the Aquino administration ended”. “I’m innocent and I was linked to this issue just to malign the administration of President Duterte.”
Go maintained that he did not intervene in the acquisition of the two warships, which is part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program.
“I did not intervene in the acquisition of the two frigates by the DND (Department of National Defense) nor interfere in the selection of its Combat Management System (CMS),” he said.
Go said the Senate is now conducting a hearing on the issue after Rappler and Inquirer came out with “fake news and alleged that I intervened”.
He said he decided to speak to the Senate inquiry “primarily for the purpose of clearing my name” and to get to the bottom of the Frigate controversy “so that the Filipino people may know the whole truth”.
“Because all of this started from irresponsible reporting, I would also like to sincerely request the Senate to continue with the hearing and investigation of fake news. And you can also summon Rappler and Inquirer in the next hearing so that you can ask them on what they have written. I am not the only victim here, we are many,” Go said.
Before coming to the Senate, Go said he was advised by President Rodrigo R. Duterte to tell only the truth.
“That being said, I have no reason to cower and hide behind an executive session. I’m ready to face all these accusations in a public hearing,” he said
Go, in fact, was the one who requested for a full-blown Senate investigation, thanking Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan III, chairman of the Senate committee on defense and security, for heeding his call.
He assured the Filipino people that the Duterte administration will continue to provide open doors for complaints, particularly against the government.
“We are being castigated for endorsing a complaint to the proper agency, a mere routinary endorsement, which is one of the thousands of complaints we endorse as part of the PRRD’s agenda to open up the gates and ears to all complaints against public officials and against the bureaucracy,” Go said.
“Where else can countless, helpless and hopeless Filipino people go if we close our doors to them? The thousands who have knocked (on) our doors to elevate their concerns bear witness to the fact that this administration has been very receptive to their grievances,” he added.
He said it has been the practice of President Duterte even during the time when he was still mayor of Davao City to make sure that all complaints are given action.
Go said the frigate project needs to be implemented “now when this country is faced with grave security threats. The Philippine Navy really needs this project, particularly for use to patrol our seas”.
“But this controversy is seriously derailing the implementation of this security measure. Perhaps, this is really their intention to block the implementation of this important security program and ensure that this administration will fail,” Go said.
Go, however, assured that the government under President Duterte will not allow “them to win because the truth is on our side”.
“I am confident that the Senate will be a vehicle of truth than be used to advance other’s self-serving interest. We place our full trust in the Senate to put to an end to this,” he added. PNA