Bong Go: I didn’t do any politicking at Boracay event for displaced workers
Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go on Monday denied criticisms that he was politicking when he attended the distribution of cash cards to displaced workers in Boracay Island.
Go said he was invited by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to the event under the Boracay Emergency Employment Program (BEEP).
“Inimbitahan ako ni Secretary Bello. Sabi niya, Bong samahan mo ko (Secretary Bello invited me. He told me, Bong, please accompany me),” Go told INQUIRER.net in a phone interview.
He said Bello invited him to Boracay to see the progress of the rehabilitation of the resort island, which was closed for six months starting on April 26.
“Inimbita ako ni Sec Bello para makita naman niya yun, at tsaka ni Sec [Roy] Cimatu para makita ‘yung progress nung rehab, at tsaka makita ‘yung kalagayan ng mga andun (Secretary Bello invited me so I could see it, and also Sec Cimatu, to see for myself the progress of the rehab and the plight of the residents there),” he said.
“Pinaunlakan ko naman pero alam mo sinabi ko pa, kahit itanong mo pa kay Sec Bello, yung pagdistribute niya sinabi ko, ayoko maghawak ng sobre, ‘wag niyo kong isali sa distribution kasi baka mamaya mahaluan ng politika and klaro yun (I accepted the invitation but I said, you can ask Sec Bello on this, that I don’t want any part in the distribution of envelopes because it might become a political issue and I’m clear about it), ” he added.
“Hindi ako humawak ng ni-isang cheke or isang ano. Ni halos hindi ko nga hinawakan ‘yung malaking cheke. Pakita ko sayo iniiwas ko nga yung kamay ko para humawak. At tsaka yung mga individual distribution hindi talaga ako humawak. Alam ni Sec Bello yun (I didn’t handle any check. I’ll show you I tried to keep my hands off those checks. Even for individual distribution, I didn’t handle anything),” he said.
“Careful na careful ako. Ba’t nila gagawan ng storya na ‘draws flak’ ako, na namulitika ako dun. And klaro sa speech ko na walang politika dito, nangamusta lang ako dito (I was very, very careful. Why would they write a story about me drawing flak, that I was politicking. It was clear from my speech that no politics was involved, that I was just there to check out the situation),” he added.
Go was wondering why others perceived his attendance to the event as politicking.
“As Special Assistant to the President, as a government employee, bawal ba – bawal pala akong ano – bawal akong bumisita sa mga kababayan natin at mangamusta as a representative from the Office of the President? (As Special Assistant to the President, as a government employee, and as a representative from the Office of the President, am I not allowed to visit my countrymen and check their plight?)” he asked.
The President’s aide said the grocery packs distributed to the residents during the event were private donations.
Go sent to INQUIRER.net photos of the said donations from private donors.
“Pinicturan namin yung private donation para hindi mahaluan [ng pulitika], may nagbigay, sila nag prepare, binigay dun. Hindi ako ah. Hindi ako. Merong private donation doon. Sabi ko, ‘Merong grocery dito na binigay ng isang pribado para sa inyo.’ So anong pamumulitika dun sa sinasabi niyo? (We took pictures of the private donations so they won’t be mistaken as politicking. They gave, they prepared. It’s not me),” he said.
Go said he was not politicking when he attended the event.
“Yun lang, nandodoon ako. Hindi ako namulitika. May (video) mismo ang government TV na wala akong sinabi na ni isang salita about politicking, pamumulitika, kaya hindi ko maintindihan ba’t sinabi niya ‘draws flak’ (That’s it. I was just there but I did not do any politicking. There’s a video by government TV which shows I didn’t say anything about politics. That’s why I can’t understand why it was reported that I drew flak),” he said.
“Alam mo sa totoo lang masayang-masaya ‘yung mga tao doon na nabisita sila (You know, the truth is the residents there were so happy they got visitors),” he added.
Go said he was there as a representative of the Office of the President.
“Hindi ko ba pwedeng gampanan ang trabaho ko as SAP? Mangamusta sa mga tao, umikot, tignan ang kalagayan at ano nang progress as representative of the Office of the President (Can I not do my work as SAP? Check on the people, go around, and check on the plight of the residents and the progress as representative of the Office of the President),” he said.
“Unang-una, wala naman akong ginawang pamumulitika doon. I never mentioned any, even a word about pamumulitika (First of all, I didn’t do any politicking there. I never mentioned any word about politicking),” he added.
In a phone interview, Bello confirmed that he invited Go to the event.
“We invited him to assess the rehabilitation of Boracay,” he said.
The distribution of cash cards to the residents was only “incidental” and not intended for the presence of Go.
Go gamely posed for selfies with residents, many cheering as President Duterte’s longtime assistant was introduced on stage.
A supporter of Go impersonated the President on stage and heaped praises on Go.
Go, however, repeatedly denied eyeing a Senate seat, although he was openly endorsed by his boss and by dozens of streamers, banners, posters, and billboards that sprouted all over town. With a report from Nestor Burgos, Inquirer Visayas/je/ac
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