FALSE: Bong Go is the 'first Chinese-Filipino who became senator'

Claim: President Rodrigo Duterte said that Senator Bong Go is the first Chinese-Filipino to become senator.

The President made this claim on Wednesday, September 25, at the corporate launch of the real estate development firm Golden Topper Group Incorporated Philippines.

In his speech for the event, Duterte spoke mostly about not employing illegal foreign workers or dabbling in illegal drug trafficking.

At one point during his speech, he called Go, his trusted aide, up on the stage.

Duterte introduced Go as "the first Chinese-Filipino who became a senator."

He continued, "He used to be my aide for 21 years until the Filipino people took notice of him as a handsome Chinese guy from China."

Rating: False

The facts: Go, who became senator for the first time in June, is not the first one of Chinese descent that the Philippines has had.

Sherwin Gatchalian, the son of Chinese businessman William Gatchalian, became senator in 2016 and is still in office.

Former president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, who was a senator from 2007 to 2010, is Chinese through his mother's side of the family, whose surname is Cojuangco.

Alfredo Lim, who was a senator from 2004 to 2007, and Nikki Coseteng, who was a senator from 1992 to 2001, also have Chinese ancestry.

The late Sergio Osmeña, who was a senator from 1922-1934, hailed from a Chinese-Filipino family.

Regardless of race, however, all Philippine senators must be natural born citizens, according to Section 3, Art. VI of the Constitution. (READ: Philippine citizenship: From jus soli to jus sanguinis)

Article IV, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution describes a natural-born citizen as the following: "Natural-born citizens are those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship." – Rappler.com/Vernise L. Tantuco

Editor's note: This article previously cited Article IV, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution regarding the law on natural-born citizens. This has been corrected.

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