Press Release
September 6, 2021

Bong Go urges concerned individuals to face ongoing probe on COVID-19 funds; tells them 'if they have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear'

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go urged all those who have been summoned to appear in the continuing Senate Blue Ribbon Committee inquiry into the use of COVID-19 funding to come forward and face the investigation, saying that if they have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear.

"Nananawagan din po ako sa lahat, dapat na lumabas na po sila to shed light, para maklaro po sa publiko. Lalung-lalo na po yung mga kakilala ni Pangulong (Rodrigo) Duterte," said Go during a radio interview on Sunday, September 5.

Go is also alluding to Michael Yang, a former adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte who is allegedly linked to Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., a business entity which is involved in billion peso pandemic response contracts last year.

"Hindi naman po dini-deny ni Pangulong Duterte na 1999 pa niya kakilala si Michael Yang. Pero hindi ibig sabihin kakilala na niya noong 1999 ay papayagan na po ni Pangulo na gumawa ng kalokohan," Go said.

"In fact, noong pumunta 'yan si Michael Yang ng Davao City noon, unang ginawang warning ni Pangulong Duterte sa kanya 'pag pumasok ka sa droga dito kita ililibing. So ibig sabihin, hindi po papayag si Pangulong Duterte na mayroong kalokohan -- na papasok sa kalokohan kahit na kaibigan, kahit na tumulong sa kanya. Hindi po siya papayag anumang kalokohan," Go shared.

Malacañang had already dismissed allegations of wrongdoing in the procurement of reportedly overpriced medical supplies for the COVID-19 pandemic, which is currently being investigated by the Senate, as contained in the initial findings of the Commission on Audit. COA earlier clarified that its preliminary findings do not indicate missing funds but only purported inefficient use of the same.

On August 31, Go emphasized in his privilege speech that culprits who are proven to be complicit in any wrongdoing should be brought to justice. He did underscore, however, that due process must be followed.

"Ako po, sinabi ko na rin sa inyo sa aking privilege speech, parati kong sinasabi 'pag may kalokohan ay kasuhan, panagutin. Pero bigyan po natin ng due process, 'yung totoo lang po, 'yung totoo lang po. Lalung-lalo na po sa mga taong nagtatrabaho naman ng matino," said Go.

"Pero 'pag napatunayang may kasalanan, kasuhan. Kaya tayo mayroong Ombudsman at mayroon tayong Sandiganbayan at kung napatunayan ay dapat pong ikulong," he added.

Go then stated that the country's judicial system must be trusted, assuring the public that he and Duterte will not allow anyone who engages in corruption or other transgressions to not be held accountable for their actions.

"Sana naman po magtiwala tayo sa ating judicial system. Kasuhan po kaagad 'pag may kasalanan," he said.

"Hindi po kami papayag ni Pangulong Duterte, hindi po namin kinukunsinti kahit sino pa man po, kahit sino ka pa, kahit saan ka nanggaling, kahit taga-Davao ka pa. 'Pag pumasok ka sa kalokohan, yari ka talaga," Go assured.

Go reiterated his appeal for people with knowledge or involvement of the transactions being questioned and have been called to appear in the probe to come forward and speak up if they have nothing to hide.

"Dapat nga po silang lumabas at magsalita rin po sa Blue Ribbon kung wala po silang kinakatakot," he concluded.

Meanwhile, Go also lambasted those who are accusing the administration of "premeditated plunder" even without evidence and conclusive facts. He said that the timing of such allegations is suspect given that the Executive branch has been transparent with its use of COVID-19 funds.

"It is about timing eh. Hindi rin naman po ako sang-ayon na sabihin na itigil po 'yung pagdinig. Ako po'y bilang inyong senador interesado po ako sa kung ano na po 'yung takbo ng COVID response ng ating bansa, dahil nakataya dito ang buhay po ng bawat Pilipino. Bawat araw, bawat minuto na tumatakbo, buhay rin po ang kapalit dito," Go said.

"Pero ang importante lang po para sa akin dapat po'y maging pantay-pantay para naman po hindi matakot 'yung ating mga government employees na gumalaw dito sa COVID response at tumulong sa kapwa dahil takot na po sila na maaari silang husgahan kaagad nang hindi pa sila nakakasagot," he pointed out.

He explained that legislators could have raised concerns early on regarding the transactions being investigated now, particularly the involvement of the Department of Budget and Management - Procurement Service (PS-DBM) in the purchase of PPEs. Go cited that these have been included in the regular report of the Executive branch to the Joint Oversight Committee of the Legislative branch as required by the Bayanihan 1 and 2 laws.

"Noong inaprubahan po ang Bayanihan 1 and 2, 'di ba mayro'n pong oversight function ang Lehislatura... So ang tanong ko lang po, nagkaroon naman po ng monthly (and even weekly) reporting 'yung paggamit po ng pondo mula sa Office of the President na isinusubmit po sa Senado... Hindi ba dapat nasilip na kaagad ito noong panahong 'yon?," Go pointed out.

"Hindi 'yung panahon ngayon na papunta na tayo sa election. Eh, lahat naman tayo interesado kung nagamit ba 'yung Bayanihan 1 at 2 sa tama. Kaya nga po ni-require ang Office of the President na mag-report... kung papaano po nagamit 'yung pondo," he added.

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