PNP defends invite for Bong Go: We didn't say vote for him
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) did not call for anyone to vote for former presidential aide and now administration senatorial candidate Bong Go.
This was the defense of PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde when pressed on Tuesday, February 12, to explain why they had invited Go a day before the start of the 2019 campaign period despite the order of President Rodrigo Duterte for all uniformed personnel to remain neutral.
"Remember, wala kaming ine-endorse dito whatsoever, so far ha.... Remember, wala kaming sinasabi sa kanila na kung sino dapat iboto nila (Remember, we are not endorsing anyone here whatsoever, so far.... Remember, we did not tell them who they should vote for)," Albayalde said in a press briefing at the national police headquarters, Camp Crame.
The day before, Go stood as the guest of honor and speaker for the PNP's launch of the nationwide Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terorismo (Youth Against Drugs and Terrorism) or KKDAT, where hundreds of college students were invited as the audience.
Go led the pledge for the campaign, delivered a 20-minute speech, met with the students, and then held a press briefing. (READ: Duterte's chosen ones: Who will benefit most from the President's endorsement?)
This, despite Duterte saying in October 2018 that: "This election, strictly neutral tayong lahat (we should all be strictly neutral). The Armed Forces, the police, and the uniformed personnel of government, I am asking you not to indulge in partisan politics. Wala tayong susuportahan (We will support no one)."
Albayalde asserted that the PNP did not violate the President's directive. He further argued that Go was not invited as a senatorial candidate, but as an honorary chairman of the Association of Chiefs of Police of the Philippines.
"Sana kung sinabi niya iboto natin siya. Hindi naman nagsabi na iboto siya, and I think, in his message, sinabi niya ay parang emissary lang siya ng ating Presidente," Albayalde added.
(That would be the case if he asked us to vote for him. But he didn't ask anyone to vote for him, and I think, in his message, he said that he was just like an emissary of our President.) – Rappler.com