MANILA -- It’s “very clear” that Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go did not intervene in the PHP18-billion Frigate Acquisition Project (FAP) of the Philippine Navy, Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. made this remark in a Palace briefing after he attended the Senate probe into the frigate deal with several other Cabinet officials.
“I know SAP Go as a person of integrity. His main wish is to serve the President and this country. He is absolutely loyal to this President. He is also fearful of this president so he will not try anything,” Roque said.
During the hearing, Go said he did not intervene in the warships deal and was merely a victim of “irresponsible reporting” of both online news outlet Rappler and broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Go denied that he meddled with the warships deal and favored Hanwha Thales of South Korea over Tacticos Thales of the Netherlands, noting that it was a “done deal” during the end of the Aquino administration.
Roque said all Malacañang-based Cabinet members voluntarily went to the Senate hearing to show their support and solidarity to the President’s top aide.
"Hindi lang (It’s not just) solidarity, I guess, it's a manifestation. Our way of communicating that we have nothing to hide," Roque said.
Present at the hearing were Roque himself, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr., Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Political Affairs Adviser Francis Tolentino, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson, and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said the Cabinet officials are "all for one, one for all" behind Go in revealing the truth regarding the frigate controversy.
Roque, meanwhile, urged Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, one of the Duterte administration’s fiercest critics, to prove his allegations that it was not Go but Duterte who “took an interest” in the warships deal.
It may be recalled that Trillanes earlier said he does not believe that Go had anything to do with the frigate deal because “he will not do anything without the order of the President himself.”
“If it is established that he was involved, then it is not because Bong Go had an interest in it, but rather Duterte had an interest in it,” Trillanes said.
“Ilabas ang ebidensiya. Napaka dali magbato ng ganiyang paratang (Show proof. It’s easy to throw those kinds of allegations),” Roque dared Trillanes. (PNA)