Bong Go responds to those who question PRRD’s appointees; he calls on colleagues to be fair and adhere to due process so the truth can come out.
After some senators raised concerns about the qualifications of appointed officials in the Duterte administration, Senator Bong Go stressed that President Rodrigo Duterte has the prerogative to appoint officials as provided by law.
On Tuesday, during a privilege speech, Go cited President Duterte, who stated during Tuesday morning’s Talk to the People address that he has the authority to appoint individuals he trusts to government positions.
“It is the President’s prerogative who to appoint in his office and in his administration. Kung gusto mong makialam sa appointments, maging Pangulo ka po,” Go said .
“Why question the appointing authority when his right to do so was given to him by the Constitution? If you have reservations on the qualifications of people in the government, question it before the proper courts. Or if you want to change the qualifications, pass a law to favor what you want,” he added.
While merit is a factor in appointing officials, Go stated that the appointing authority also considers trust. Having some of the President’s appointees from Davao should not be an issue because he has the authority to install individuals he believes are capable of leading these offices.
“Bakit issue na ngayon na puro taga-Davao ang naa-appoint? Ano pong masama doon kung sila ang pinagkakatiwalaan ng Pangulo? Ano tingin nyo sa Pangulo, hindi marunong kumilatis? Personal choice niya po ‘yan. Hindi porke’t abogado niya, eh tao ko na. Abogado niya po ‘yan noon pa,” Sen Go said.
“Huwag kayong magmalinis. Sa mga opisina ninyo, wala ba kayong katrabaho na kamag-anak, ka-fraternity, ka-probinsya, o kaibigan? Sabi ko nga, doon lang po sana tayo sa totoo. Maging patas po tayo,” he added.
Coming from the province, Go believes that appointing other probinsyanos to serve in government is a non-issue as long as they do the right thing and avoid corruption.
“Kami po ni Pangulong Duterte ay mga probinsyano na nagtratrabaho ng matino, tumutulong sa mga Pilipino at nagsusumikap na maibangon sa krisis ang ating bansa. Ano po ang masama kung kumuha siya ng mga probinsiyano para tulungan siyang magserbisyo sa bayan?” Go stated.
“Ang pangunahing bilin nga ng Pangulo sa kanyang mga ina-appoint: ‘Just do what is right and avoid corruption.’ Wala sa usapan ang korapsyon. Kasi kung gusto mo talagang tumulong sa administrasyon, gagawin mo kung ano ang tama,” he added.
The Senator continued by stating that he and Duterte are collaborating with other co-equal branches to eradicate corruption in the Philippines, despite the fact that such an objective is difficult to accomplish fully.
“And if you believe that people have committed crimes and should be punished, then file the necessary cases or give our prosecutors sufficient evidence to ensure that these people are indeed punished. Patunayan natin kay Pangulong Duterte at lalo na sa mga kababayan natin na may kahihinatnan ang mga hearing na ito,” he said.
Go also reiterated that, as former Special Assistant to the President, he was not involved in selecting key executive branch officials, most notably former Department of Budget and Management Undersecretary Christopher Lloyd Lao.
Additionally, Go clarified that Lao was never his aide and did not report directly to him. He explained that his office as SAP had supervisory authority over the Presidential Management Staff, to which Lao belonged at the time, and other select offices within the OP. They do not report directly to him or serve as his ‘aide.’
The Senator emphasized that anyone found guilty of corruption will face prosecution in accordance with the law and the administration’s anti-corruption policy, with the utmost fairness and respect for due process.
“Basta’t napatunayang sangkot ka sa korapsyon, kahit sino ka man, kahit saan ka man nanggaling, dapat kang managot. At tulungan natin si Pangulong Duterte, ipakulong po ang dapat ipakulong kung may kasalanan po,” said Go.
Go then emphasized that while he supports the upper chamber’s collective goal of uncovering the truth. He urged his colleagues to listen to and review all the facts before drawing conclusions or rendering judgments.
“But if we do not know how to listen or, worse, if we already have a conclusion even before getting all the facts, then we have failed in providing the people true and accurate information. Aren’t we all for the truth?” said Go.
“Sinusubaybayan po ng Pangulo ang lahat. Pinapanood po niya, binabantayan po niya. Ipinagtatanggol ko po ang ating trabaho. I am with you, sa lahat po ng colleagues ko rito para malaman po ang katotohanan. Pagtulungan po natin, alamin natin ang katotohanan at kasuhan ang may kasalanan,” he added.
He criticized the manner in which the investigations are conducted, labeling them as “bullying.”
“Alam ninyo po, magkasama tayo, lalong-lalo na po sa laban sa korapsyon sa gobyerno, sana naman po sa tamang paraan. Hindi po sa bullying na pamamaraan,” he pleaded.
According to Go, the ongoing investigation has shifted the Health Department’s focus away from the COVID-19 response. Additionally, he stated that certain health officials have grown fearful of taking action as a result of the investigation.
“Importante sa ating lahat ang COVID-19 response. We cannot afford to fail. Buhay po ang nakataya, buhay po ang nakasalalay dito. Tumataas ang kaso, 22,000 cases po kahapon, naging dominant variant na po ngayon ang Delta. Nakakatakot po ito. Pero habang tumataas ang kaso, tayo nag-aaway dito. Hindi po ito nakakatulong. Kung merong kakasuhan, kasuhan na po at ikulong na po, para makapagtrabaho na tayo,” said Go.
“Marami pong natatakot gumalaw ngayon. ‘
Yung mga opisyales ng gobyerno, takot na pong gumalaw, wala nang gustong gumalaw kaya po natatagalan lalo. Habang naghi-hearing, tumataas ang kaso, hindi na po nakaka-focus ang government workers natin, lalo na ‘yung mga DOH officials at ‘yung involved sa vaccination efforts natin dahil takot na pong gumalaw,” he added.
While government critics seek to discredit the government’s COVID-19 response, Go assured that no “grand scheme” of corruption is ongoing during the pandemic.
“Hindi po papayag si Pangulong Duterte. Galit po kami ni Pangulong Duterte sa mga magnanakaw,” he said.
Go then urged his colleagues to uphold fairness and due process in the ongoing investigation, stating that it is what the Filipino people deserve.
“The Filipino people deserve fairness and due process, most especially in a committee that we hold in high regard,” he said.
“Napaka-crucial (ng role) ng Blue Ribbon dahil aminado naman tayong lahat na para umunlad ang bansa, kailangan linisin ang gobyerno,” added Go.