Go: Don’t link me to Lao, it’s irrelevant as those with corruption links would get punished | Inquirer News
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Go: Don’t link me to Lao, it’s irrelevant as those with corruption links would get punished

/ 10:05 PM August 26, 2021
Go: Don’t link me to Lao, it’s irrelevant as those with corruption links would get punished

Senator Bong Go

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Bong Go has urged people not to associate former Procurement Service head Christopher Lloyd Lao with him, saying that it is irrelevant since the administration would go after corrupt officials whoever they may be.

Go said in a statement on Thursday that he and President Rodrigo Duterte – who he previously served with as Special Assistant to the President – do not play favorites in their anti-corruption campaign.

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It has long been suspected that Go was linked to Lao since it was revealed that the former headed the Procurement Service – Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) that procured the overpriced face masks and face shields, as some sectors claimed Lao worked for Go as his undersecretary in the Office of the Special Assistant to the President.

“Taong 2019 ay Senador na ako. Taong 2017 ay wala na si Lao sa PMS. Huwag niyo na ipilit na iugnay sa akin si Lao ngayon o sinumang nakatrabaho ko noon. Irrelevant yan dahil kahit sino ka pa, kung mapatunayang may kasalanan sa taumbayan, yari ka talaga! Pasensyahan tayo. Pero kung wala naman, itigil na ang pang-iintriga para lang manira ng kapwa,” Go said.

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“Wala kaming pinipili ni Pangulong Duterte sa laban kontra korapsyon, kriminalidad, at iligal na droga. Kung mapatunayang may kasalanan talaga, kasuhan na agad para matapos na ang isyung ito at mas matutukan na natin ang laban kontra pandemya,” he added.

According to Go, whoever supported him or the President before and after the elections would be prosecuted if there was even a whiff of corruption.

“Uulitin ko, kahit tumulong ka pa sa kampanya noon kay Pangulong Duterte, kahit nakatrabaho kita noon, kahit magkakilala o magkaibigan pa tayo, kahit saan ka man nanggaling, basta pumasok ka sa korapsyon, even on a mere whiff, mananagot ka kung may kasalanan ka!” he exclaimed.

Lao was questioned about his previous government positions, including his stint with the Presidential Management Staff (PMS), during the hearing held by the House committee on public accounts regarding the Commission on Audit (COA) reports about the Department of Health (DOH) pandemic funds.

Probinsyano Ako Rep. Jose Singson said that he delved deeper into Lao’s past to understand how he was related to PS-DBM high-level transactions.

READ: Ex-DBM Usec Lao denies working for Bong Go; solon shows him letter he signed as SAP’s Usec

READ: Navy frigate controversy resurfaces as ex-DBM exec Lao’s past raised in House hearing

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The purchase of overpriced face masks and face shields for DOH is alleged to have taken place during Lao’s tenure at PS-DBM, at around P27 per piece and P120 per piece, respectively.

Lao was one of many employees in Malacañang back then when they both worked under the Office of the President, according to Go. In 2016, Go was Special Assistant to the President. He resigned in 2018 to run for the Senate. As a PMS Undersecretary, Lao was appointed only from 2016-2017.

Moreover, Go stated that he was not involved in the day-to-day operations and management of the departments within the Office of the President, as his role was more of an oversight function.

“As Special Assistant to the President then, I was not involved in the day-to-day operations and management of the office in OP. Limitado ang aking oversight function sa pagsisigurong naipapatupad ang mga sistema at proseso. May sari-sarili silang head kung saan sila nagre-report,” Go said.

“Si Lao ay isa lang sa daan-daang empleyado o opisyal doon sa Malacañang noon. […] Pero hindi ibig sabihin na nakatrabaho ko sila noon ay naging aide ko na silang lahat,” he added.

Go has denied having Lao as an aide before. The senator said in a statement on August 19 that Lao was never his aide.

“I already assumed my post in July 2019 as an elected Senator when Lao was designated to head the PS-DBM in August 2019,” Go clarified further.

READ: Drilon thinks Go should attend Senate hearings on DOH audit; Go clarifies he was there listening intently

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TAGS: Christopher Lloyd Lao, COA, Commission On Audit, committee on public accounts, DBM, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Health, DoH, House of Representatives, Philippine news updates, Procurement Service, PS-DBM, Senator Bong Go
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