Duterte aide decries being dragged into frigate controversy to smear admin


Posted at Feb 19 2018 11:19 AM | Updated as of Feb 19 2018 03:40 PM

Duterte's right hand man also urges Senate to invite news agencies to next hearing into 'fake news'

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MANILA - (UPDATE) Christopher "Bong" Go, President Rodrigo Duterte's right-hand man, on Monday again denied meddling in the procurement of two new Navy ships under the military's modernization program, saying he was dragged into the issue to besmirch the administration.

"Inosente at idinamay lang po ako sa isyung ito upang siraan ang administrasyon ni Pangulong Duterte," the special assistant to the President told senators investigating the frigate deal.

"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 PRRD’s agenda to open the gates and ears of Malacañang to all complaints against public officials and against the bureaucracy," he said.

Go, Duterte's long-time aide, said he attended the investigation by the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security because he has "no reason to cover and hide behind an executive session."

 "Sa totoo lang, sobrang hirap sagutin ang mga bintang na wala ka namang kinalaman," said Go.

"I did not intervene in the acquisition of the 2 frigates by DND (Department of Defense), nor interfere in the selection of its combat management system," he said.

He also called out local news agencies Rappler and Inquirer for their reports alleging his meddling into the purchase of military equipment.

"Ang pinag-uusapan ngayon ay naging isyu lamang nang maglabas ang Rappler at Inquirer ng fake news at sinabing ako po ay nakialam," he said.

He asked the Senate "to continue with the hearing and investigation on fake news," and invite representatives from the two news agencies and inquire about their news items on him.

"Hindi lang po ako ang biktima dito. Marami po tayo," he said.

News reports last month said Go intervened in the selection of the combat management system (CMS) for new P15.7-billion ships to be built by South Korean firm Hyundai Heavy Industries.

Both Duterte and Go denied the allegation, with the latter saying he will quit his post if proven guilty.

In the hearing, Go said the deal was completed in the latter part of the Aquino administration in a "photo-finish" manner.

"Walang nabago, walang binago; walang nakialam at walang pinakialaman sa kontrata," he said.