MANILA - Detained Senator Leila de Lima on Friday raised questions on where does President Rodrigo Duterte’s long-time aide Bong Go gets his funds for his senatorial campaign.
Go’s tarpaulins and billboards have been spotted in various parts of the country, even as the official campaign period has yet to begin, and De Lima has labeled such moves as “the template of epal politics.”
“Bong Go is everywhere, inescapable in all sizes and in all forms. There has been an ongoing invasion of public spaces by his tarpaulins and expensive billboards, and on TV, radio, print and social media, he’s ubiquitous these past months. He obviously has a well-oiled electoral machinery. But where does he get the funds?” De Lima said in a dispatch from her detention cell in Camp Crame.
“He does all these even way before the start of the official campaign period, taking advantage of a gap in our election laws and jurisprudence which tolerates premature campaigning.”
De Lima said Go’s case “is so brazen in its utter lack of delicadeza,” pointing out that Duterte’s long-time aide, despite having resigned from his post as Special Assistant to the President, remains seen with the chief executive in public events.
“It’s even akin to usurpation of authority, since someone else is supposed to have taken already his previous functions as SAP. But since he continues to act as Duterte’s super alalay, it is safe to presume that public funds are also expended while he is campaigning early… and still assuming the SAP role,” De Lima said.
De Lima, a former election lawyer, also hit Go for supposedly taking advantage of government-funded projects to advance his electoral bid. She said she find these acts “highly irregular and questionable.”
“And so gracious of him to be regularly distributing dole outs and relief goods, laden with his name and campaign color, in almost all calamity-stricken areas. But again, I ask, are the millions of pesos expended for these sourced from Bong Go’s personal funds or otherwise?” De Lima said.
“Habang ang ibang mga kandidato ay abalang inaayos ang kanilang plataporma at mga isyung nais tugunan at mga batas na nais isulong, si Bong Go ay abala sa pagrampa gamit ang makinarya at pondo ng gobyerno.”
'I HAVE DELICADEZA'
Go, in a statement, denied De Lima’s allegation, saying he has “delicadeza.”
“Unang una, kami po ni Pangulong Duterte ay palaging sumusunod sa batas. Wala po kaming hangarin kundi tumulong at ipaglaban ang kabutihan ng bawat Pilipino,” Go said.
Go stressed that he has friends who support him in his endeavors. While he did not categorically say whether these individuals are also his source of funds, he insisted that he is not using government funds for his road trips around the country which critics say amount to premature campaigning.
“Marami akong mga kaibigan na naniniwala sa aking ipinaglalaban at tumutulong sa akin na maghatid ng tulong sa ating mga kababayan na nabiktima ng sunog at iba pang uri ng trahedya. Hindi ako katulad ni Sen. De Lima na umano’y gumamit ng pondo galing sa mga drug lords para sa kanyang ambisyong politikal,” he said.
“Malinis ang konsensya ko. Hindi galing sa mga drug lords ang perang ginagamit ko sa pagtulong, hindi katulad ng iba dyan na hindi na nga nakakatulong, nanggugulo at nakikisawsaw pa, pinoprotektahan pa ang mga kriminal. Huwag nyo akong ihalintulad sa inyo," he added.