ANGELES CITY, Philippines – Former presidential aide Bong Go denied he is using government funds or resources for his senatorial bid.
If the accusations were true, he said, Filipinos should not vote for him.
However, he declined to name his campaign financiers when asked in an ambush interview.
“Ni piso walang government funds na gagamitin. Noon pa sinabi na namin ’yan, I will resign noon kung may piso po na ginamit na government funds. Kung mayroon pong ginamit na government funds, huwag ’nyo po ako iboto,” he said on Tuesday, February 12 in Angeles City, Pampanga. (READ: Pinedas of Pampanga pull out all stops for Hugpong ng Pagbabago Senate slate)
(I will not use even a peso of government funds. We said that before, I would resign if there was a peso of government funds used. If any were used, don’t vote for me.)
WATCH: Bong Go on whether/not his campaign makes use of gov't resources, who his campaign donors are, which Senate committees he wants to be part of. @rapplerdotcom @phvote pic.twitter.com/yZBWblII1H — Pia Ranada (@piaranada) February 12, 2019
He was then asked if, for the sake of transparency, he would name his campaign funders.
But Go only advised the public to just wait for his Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) that candidates and political parties are required to submit to the Commission on Elections. However, this document, which is supposed to show who their campaign donors are and how much they spent, will only be filed and made public after the May elections.
“Hintayin ’nyo na lang po. It will be declared naman po. Magiging transparent lahat ’yan,” he said. (Just wait for it. It will be declared anyway. We will be transparent with everything.)
Go’s posters and tarpaulins had been ubiquitous even months before the campaign period started Tuesday, leading observers to brand him as “epal” – Filipino slang for somebody who tries to draw attention to himself in situations or conversations where he's not supposed to be in the first place.
Former Civil Service Commission officials had even said they may be violations of the government code of ethics.
Preferred Senate committees
Go was also asked which Senate committees he would join if he won a seat in the chamber.
Top of mind for him is the committee on health, currently headed by reelectionist senator JV Ejercito.
Go also wants to be part of the powerful Commission on Appointments, a body composed of both upper and lower house lawmakers.
“Siyempre uunahin ko ’yung health. ’Yun po ang pangako ko, improve the medical services throughout the country and then, aside from that, itong transportation. Daming problema sa ating bansa. Of course, Commission on Appointments,” he said.
(Of course I'll prioritize health. That is my promise, to improve medical services throughout the country and then, as from that, transportation. Our countries have a lot of problems. Of course, Commission on Appointments.)
The CA gets to confirm the appointees of President Rodrigo Duterte. Having a loyal ally in this critical body would undoubtedly be a boon to Duterte.
When he was a presidential aide, Go had often been in charge of scouting for candidates for key government positions. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.