'Sobrang unfair': Go decries 'bullying' in Senate during probe on COVID-19 funds

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 31 2021 04:43 PM | Updated as of Aug 31 2021 08:25 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go on Tuesday criticized other members of the Senate for allegedly "bullying" him during legislative proceedings.

Go did not mention names in the first part of his privilege speech but eventually mentioned Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Sen. Richard Gordon, saying the panel's head frequently cut off his manifestations during hearings.

"I am one with you here in the Committee... Pinagtatanggol ko po ang ating trabaho (I am defending our job)," Go said.

"I am with you... Nakikiusap po ako sa inyo, pagtulungan po natin, alamin po natin ang katotohanan at kasuhan natin ang may kasalanan... Sana naman po sa tamang pamamaraan, hindi sa bullying," he said.

(I am begging you, let us help each other out, let's find out the truth and file cases against those responsible... Hopefully in the right way and not through bullying.) 

Go said he was being "unfairly" treated in the chamber just because he is a neophyte senator.

"Aminado po ako na baguhan lang po ako dito... Kahit sa mga hearing ang trato mo sa 'kin parang resource person lang na puwede mong barahin habang nagsasalita," he said.

(I admit I am new here... Even in hearings you treat me as if I'm a resource person who can just be cut off while speaking.) 

Go also hit the senator for questioning his closeness with President Rodrigo Duterte.

"Ano ang karapatan mong kuwestiyunin ang pagiging malapit ko sa pangulo? Nangako ako sa pangulo na hindi ko siya iiwanan habang buhay at amin na lang 'yun dahil mahal ko ang Pangulo," said the long-time Duterte aide who continues to be by the president's side during official functions even after his election to the Senate.

(What right do you have to question my closeness to the president? I promised him that I will never leave him for as long as I live and that's between us because I love the president.)

"As long as walang conflict sa ginagampanan ko bilang senador, wala kang karapatang kuwestiyunin ito. Wala kang pakialam," he said.

(As long as there is no conflict with my role as senator, you have no right to question this. It's none of your business.) 

The statement comes hours after Gordon told reporters that several senators are considering to bring Go before the Senate Ethics Committee as recent investigations found that the neophyte lawmaker from Davao may be linked to those tagged in the procurement of allegedly overpriced pandemic supplies.

The Blue Ribbon Committee recently presented a video showing President Rodrigo Duterte and Go welcoming Chinese businessman Michael Yang and Pharmally officials in Malacañang.

Last week, the Senate panel found that Pharmally - which bagged P6.8 billion in contracts from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) - has been using fake addresses in its incorporation documents.

It was former DBM Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao who approved the procurement from Pharmally. Lao was Duterte's former election lawyer who also hails from Davao City.

Go said it was unfair for several senators to link him and the President to the scheme just because some people from Davao may have been involved.

"Porke't taga-Davao, naging abogado ng Pangulo at naka-trabaho ko ng isang taon, pinipilit na i-connect sa akin?" he said.

(Just because they are from Davao, they became the lawyer of the President, and they worked with me, you are forcing a connection between us?)

"Napaka-unfair naman po sa mga iilang abogado na mula sa Davao na may sarili pong career," he said.

(That's unfair to the lawyers from Davao who have their own careers.)

Gordon called Go's accusations as another diversionary tactic of the administration.

"Hindi ko po kayo tino-totoy. Hindi ko po gagawin yan. I will not condescend. Probinsyano din ako," Gordon said.

(I am not treating you like a kid. I will not do that. I will not condescent. I came from the province too.)

"Ito tangkang manglansi na naman ito. Titirahin ang Senado, titirahin ako. [He is] Not even man enough to speak in the third person," he said.

(This is another attempt to divert our focus. They will hit the Senate, they will hit me.)

In an interview on ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo, Gordon said he is "happy" with Go's outburst.

"I'm happy. I know I'm doing my job. May umaaray eh (Someone's foot was stepped on)," he said.

Gordon did not belabor the point, saying he prefers to focus on the issues raised in the Blue Ribbon probe.

"I'll try to focus at the investigation at hand dahil doon tayo nilalansi (because that is what they are trying to distract us from)," the senator said.

"This Blue Ribbon will not be distracted."

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