Fact checks on public officials

FALSE: Bong Go has no ties to ex-DBM official Christopher Lao

FALSE: Bong Go has no ties to ex-DBM official Christopher Lao

GO. Senator Bong Go leads the opening prayer for the hybrid plenary session Monday, August 2, 2021.

Henzberg Austria/Senate PRIB

Government records show that Lao worked as an undersecretary in the Office of the Special Assistant to the President
At a glance
  • Claim: Lloyd Christopher Lao, a former budget official tagged in the questionable procurement of COVID-19 supplies flagged by the Commission on Audit, has no ties with Senator Christopher “Bong” Go.
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: Government records show that Lao worked as an undersecretary in the Office of the Special Assistant to the President.
  • Why we fact-checked this: Go made this claim in a statement released on Thursday, August 19.
Complete details

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has distanced himself from former Department of Budget and Management Procurement Service (DBM-PS) head Lloyd Christopher Lao, who was tagged in the procurement of COVID-19 supplies worth P42 billion flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA).

“Lao did not directly report to me nor did he ever serve as my aide,” Go said in a statement on Thursday, August 19.

Go then enumerated Lao’s former job description in the government. He said that Lao was a volunteer election lawyer of President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 and was appointed to the Presidential Management Staff at the start of the term until early 2017. Go said that he was then appointed to the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, and then DBM.

This is false.

Lao’s profile on the official website of the DBM-PS states that he worked as an undersecretary of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President. This was Go’s office until 2018, when he decided to run for senator.

ARCHIVED. A screenshot of Christopher Lao’s profile on the official website of the DBM-PS. The web page was saved on Friday, August 20, 2021.

A Rappler investigative story in 2018 also found a letter from the Office of the Special Assistant to the President signed by Lao as undersecretary. Back then, Go acknowledged that Lao worked in his office but that he had long left his office.

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Lao was tagged in the transfer of P42 billion to the Department of Health (DOH) to buy personal protective equipment, which lacked supporting documentation, according to COA. (READ: Senate to dig deeper into ‘mystery’ of overpriced COVID-19 purchases in DBM)

Lao also defended DBM-PS’ questionable acquisition of overpriced face masks and shields from China worth P95.45 million, which the agency is now found to be having difficulty in selling to client government agencies. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

FALSE: Bong Go has no ties to ex-DBM official Christopher Lao

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