'No favors given': Palace reacts to Bong Go 'violation' in filing candidacy

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 16 2018 03:02 PM

Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Malacañang on Tuesday downplayed criticism against former Special Assistant to the President Bong Go after he broke the Commission on Elections’ rule that a candidate may only be accompanied by a maximum of four individuals when filing a certificate of candidacy.

The poll body has admitted that “special allowances” had to be made considering that VIPs, led by President Rodrigo Duterte, accompanied Go during the filing of his COC.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the matter should not be blown out of proportion and that no one should not be blamed for the incident.

“Hindi naman pinaboran. Siguro ang nangyari doon hindi nila akalain na dadating ang presidente. Kaya ang security nila nagulat,” Panelo said.

(No favors were given. Maybe what happened was, they did not expect the President’s arrival, that’s why their security personnel were caught unprepared.)

“You cannot blame any side… It does not mean na pinaboran si Bong Go.”

(You cannot blame any side… It does not mean Bong Go was given favors.)

Panelo also claimed that Go was only accompanied by four individuals, President Duterte and three Cabinet members.

Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

However, videos of the event point to the contrary.

Go was escorted by the President, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Social Welfare Acting Secretary Virginia Orogo, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission member Greco Belgica, Presidential Protocol Chief Robert Borje, and a number of Presidential Security Group men.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said Go's filing was allowed to push through despite the violation as calling it off "would unduly hamper the proceedings."

Meanwhile, Panelo assured the public that the government would not exploit public resources for the promotion of administration bets.

He said Go’s campaign will be fueled mainly by donations from people who also supported Duterte during the 2016 polls.