Trillanes hounds Duterte, Go with P6-B plunder rap

Trillanes hounds Duterte, Go with P6-B plunder rap

/ 05:30 AM July 06, 2024

Trillanes hounds Duterte, Go with P6-B plunder rap

FRESH COMPLAINT Former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV shows a copy of his second complaint of plunder against ex-President Rodrigo Duterte and his longtime aide, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go  at the Department of Justice as members of his staff carry other copies into the building on Friday. His first plunder case against Duterte in May 2016 was rejected by the Office of the Ombudsman. —NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

Former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Friday filed his second plunder complaint against Rodrigo Duterte for allegedly using his position as mayor and later as president to award public works contracts worth P6.6 billion to “unqualified” companies owned by Senator Christopher “Bong” Go’s father and half-brother.

Go, his father, Deciderio Lim Go, and his half-brother, Alfred Armero Go, were also named as Duterte’s corespondents in the case filed by Trillanes in the Department of Justice (DOJ). Duterte and the others were also accused of graft and corruption and culpable violation of the Constitution.

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Go, 50, has been a close aide of Duterte since the former president was a congressman and later as mayor of Davao City. He served as special assistant to the president from 2016 to 2018, He won his Senate seat in the 2019 midterm polls.

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‘Essentially’ the same

Go said that Trillanes’ accusation was “essentially” the same charges hurled against him in the past.

“I categorically deny the allegations against me and former President Rodrigo Duterte,” Go said in a statement.

READ: Trillanes: Plunder raps to greet Duterte, Go exit 

“For the record, even before I was born, my family already had a business,” he said. “What I can assure you is that neither I nor my family benefited from my being a government official.”

Go entered public service in 1998 as executive assistant to Duterte in the House of Representatives. He studied management at De La Salle University and transferred to Ateneo de Davao where he finished college with a degree in marketing.

His grandfather, August Tesoro, was very close to Duterte. Tesoro was the son of the man who founded what is now Davao’s largest printing press. He was one of the principal sponsors in the wedding of Duterte and his first wife, Elizabeth Zimmerman.

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There was no immediate comment from Duterte on the complaint filed against him by Trillanes.

The former president was Davao mayor from 1988 to 2016, with three-year gaps from 1998 to 2001 when he served as the city’s first district representative, and from 2010 to 2013 when he was his daughter Sara’s vice mayor.

No specifics

Trillanes, citing official records from the Commission on Audit (COA), alleged that from March 2007 to May 2018, CLTG Builders, owned by Go’s father, was awarded 125 projects in the Davao region from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

A copy of the complaint sent to reporters did not cite specific projects. There has been no response from Trillanes to the Inquirer’s request for details.

Trillanes said some of the projects were under Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” centerpiece infrastructure program.

According to the COA records cited in the complaint, CLTG secured 27 projects worth approximately P3.2 billion in 2017 alone.

Alfrego Builders & Supply, owned by Go’s half-brother, won 59 public works projects from June 2007 to July 2018 amounting to P1.74 billion. These also were all DPWH projects in the Davao region.

Trillanes pointed out that in 2018, Alfrego won contracts for 23 projects amounting to P1.3 billion.

“CLTG Builders and Alfrego Builders & Supply could not have been awarded the enormous projects were it not for Respondent Bong Go and his connection to the seat of power—Respondent Duterte, who is constitutionally responsible for the annual budget proposal,” read the complaint.

PCIJ report

“Respondent Go clearly took advantage of his public positions as an aide and alter-ego of Respondent Duterte in cornering illicitly billions upon billions of public infrastructure projects in favor of the unqualified sole proprietorship registered in the names of his father and brother, thus, unduly enriching himself and members of his immediate family, and Respondent Duterte” it said.

Trillanes’ complaint was based in part on the 2018 report by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) which first uncovered the infrastructure contracts awarded to both CLTG and Alfrego from 2007 to 2017.

The complaint also cited the PCIJ’s discovery of the DPWH Bureau of Construction records that showed that as of April 30, 2018, 136 projects bidded out by the DPWH Davao region office were unfinished.

“Incidentally, CLTG Builders stood out in PCIJ’s research because all of CLTG Builders’ joint-venture projects with big contractors in 2017 ‘failed to complete projects by the original deadline,’” the complaint said.

Duterte, Go and the senator’s father and half-brother also were allegedly liable for violating the constitutional provision prohibiting government officials from being involved financially in any government-owned or sponsored contracts, particularly with their relatives.

“The acts and relationships of herein Respondents, thus, fall squarely under the above constitutional and statutory proscriptions against conflicts of interest in the public sector, undermining the fundamental integrity of the government,” the complaint said.

First complaint

Trillanes filed his first plunder complaint in the Office of the Ombudsman against Duterte days before the May 9, 2016, presidential election, accusing the then Davao mayor of hiring 11,000 ghost city hall employees two years earlier.

He said that according to a COA report, Davao spent P708 million on the contractuals’ salaries even if there were no documents to prove that they actually rendered work.

Trillanes said that the budget for the ghost employees could have been the source of funds for Duterte’s alleged undeclared bank accounts with transactions totaling P2.4 billion from 2006 to 2015 and for at least 40 properties.

Duterte explained that he had hired three times the number of contractual employees of the city to keep it clean, safe and orderly.

The amount cited by the COA was part of the city’s operational expenses, which he said went to garbage collectors, drivers and intelligence operatives, he said.

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In February 2018, then Solicitor General Jose Calida disclosed that the plunder case filed by Trillanes against Duterte had already been “closed and terminated.” —WITH A REPORT FROM INQUIRER RESEARCH 

TAGS: Duterte, Plunder, Trillanes

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