Duterte tells Bong Go: Don’t hesitate to tell senators if you found issues in budget
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Christopher “Bong” Go was urged by President Rodrigo Duterte not to be hesitant should he find irregularities in the 2021 budget, saying that Go could “whisper” the issues to other senators.
Duterte said during his Monday night address that Go — his former assistant — can also call his attention about the issues if he feels indebted to Duterte.
After being Duterte’s assistant from his various mayoral stints in Davao City and eventually as President in 2016, Go ran in the 2019 senatorial elections under the PDP-Laban win, landing the third spot with over 20 million votes.
“Walang kaibigan-kaibigan. Basta may mali, basta, pati ako […] pero sa akin siguro (baka) mahiya ka but call my attention,” Duterte told Go who was also at the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) meeting.
(Disregard our friendship, as long as there is something wrong, tell it, even if it involves me. But maybe for me, you would feel indebted, so you can call my attention.)
“But you might want to — kung may ano dito, masama, tinignan mo, mapahiya ako, give it to another lawmaker. Ibulong mo lang doon na ganito ‘yong sitwasyon, sila na ang mag-ano, they would open up everything for us,” Duterte added.
(But you might want to if you see anything wrong, and by looking at it you think I would be put to shame, give it to another lawmaker. Whisper to them the situation, and they would take care of it, they would open everything for us.)
This was not the first time that Duterte dared Go to set aside their friendship for a while to focus on his role as a legislator. Last August 18, Go said that he was accepting Duterte’s challenge for him to expose wrongdoings and criminality in government — particularly to talk like an opposition senator — and to not be partisan.
Go has been present in Duterte’s late-night broadcasts, appearing beside the President in many occasions. The senator was also the first to dispel rumors of Duterte being gravely ill, as he posted photos and videos of the President staying in Davao City.
Duterte again insisted that he does not want to leave a legacy of a corrupted government, saying that he cannot swallow such allegations.
On the other hand, several corruption issues have hounded government agencies under his term, from the alleged return of the pork barrel system despite a Supreme Court ruling against it, to the recent accusations of corruption within the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.
“So long as there is no corruption. Talagang mas lalong masira tayo kung we tolerate it eh. ‘Yan ang mahirap, ‘yang p*tang inang ma-ano ‘kang kawatan. That’s a very hard thing to swallow,” he stressed.
(So long as there is no corruption. We would damage our reputation if we tolerate it. That is what is hard, that son of a b*tch, you would be accused of being a plunderer. That’s a very hard thing to swallow.) [ac]