Bong Go open to probing corruption issues at PCSO, Philhealth

Robie de Guzman   •   July 30, 2019   •   1401

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said he is open to conducting an inquiry into the alleged corruption issues in the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth).

Go, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, said the interest of the Filipino people should be put above everything else and those who committed corruption should be held accountable.

The neophyte lawmaker made the statement after Senator Panfilo Lacson, in his privilege speech on Monday, claimed that Health Secretary Francisco Duque was involved in a case of “conflict of interest.”

Lacson said the drug company Doctors Pharmaceuticals Inc., which was owned by Duque’s family, got two contracts from the Department of Health in 2016 and 2017.

Lacson also earlier claimed that Duque’s family owned the building leased by Philhealth.

Go said he has no reasons for now to pre-judge Health Secretary Duque despite the allegations made by Lacson.

“As chairman ng Committee on Health, I’m willing to investigate kung talagang mayroong katotohanan na mayroong conflict of interest, subalit I still trust Secretary Duque, until it’s proven sufficiently na mayroon talagang ebidensiya against him,” he said.

Go, a long-time special assistant of President Rodrigo Duterte, also maintained that he is willing to set aside friendship as what the chief executive always advises him to do.

“Managot ang dapat managot kahit na magkasama tayo sa gobyerno at magkaibigan tayo. Kung ano lang po ang tama. ‘Yan po ang pinagbibilin parati sa akin ni Pangulo noon. Do what is right,” he stressed.

In the same statement, the first-time lawmaker also assured the public the operations and services offered by Malasakit Centers are not affected by Duterte’s order to shut down PCSO gaming outlets due to allegations of “massive corruption.”

He said there are enough funds allotted for the services offered by Malasakit Centers.

“Sa ngayon budgeted naman po ‘yung operations ng pagpapagamot for this year,” he said. “Marami naman pong tumutulong sa Malasakit Center tulad ng PhilHealth, DOH, at DSWD. Sa ngayon po ay hindi pa po siya apektado.”

Malasakit Centers are a one-stop shop established in 38 government hospitals all over the country where patients can seek financial assistance from various government agencies.

The senator noted that the current collections of PCSO will be used next year.

“Naka-budget na po ‘yung pondo ng PCSO for this year. ‘Yung mga kinokolekta for this year, ito po ‘yung bina-budget po for the next year,” he said.

While gaming outlets have been closed, the lawmaker said the PCSO remains open for medical financial assistance.

“Bukas naman po. Wala naman pong nagsasara at hindi po magsasara ang PCSO (para) sa mga tulong medical,” Go said.

However, he cannot say for sure when the normal operations of PCSO will resume because the president wants the problem to be solved first.

Go also said the Duterte encouraged him to look into corruption issues, not only with PCSO or DOH but with other government agencies.

“Sabi niya, kung kailangan mong imbestigahan at kailangan mong silipin at may makita kang korapsyon sa kahit saang government agencies, lahat silipin mo. Magsalita ka sa Senado,” he said.

Pangulong Duterte, wala pang pasya kung sino ang iendorsong presidential bet – Malakanyang

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Umapela ang Malakanyang sa publiko na bigyan pa ng panahon si Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte upang magpasya sa kung sino ang susuportahan nitong kandidato sa pagka-pangulo sa 2022 elections.

Kasunod na rin ito ng pag-atras sa halalan ng ini-endorso niyang si Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.

“Si Pangulo has options, has choices that he has to make and we should give him the time to make those options; to make those choices; to make those decisions and give him the leeway to make the announcement kung kinakailangan at kung kailan niya gusto gawin. Hintayin na lang po natin si Pangulong Duterte,” ang pahayag ni acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles.

Una nang sinabi ni Go na umatras siya sa halalan dahil ayaw aniya ng kanyang pamilya na sumabak ito sa presidential race.

Ayaw rin umano niyang ilagay sa mahirap na sitwasyon ang pangulo dahil sa pagtakbo ng anak nitong si Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte bilang bise presidente, katambal ni presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Sinabi naman ng pangulo na iginagalang niya ang desisyon ni Go lalo’t para ito sa kapakanan ng kanyang pamilya.

Noong Martes inianunsyo ni Go ang pag-atras sa halalan ngunit hindi pa ito personal na humaharap sa Commission on Elections upang pormal na bawiin ang kandidatura.

Kasunod ng pag-atras ni Go, nanawagan naman ang mga kaalyado ng administrasyon na suportahan na lang ng pangulo ang tambalang Bongbong at Sara para sa 2022 elections.

Duterte says he respects Bong Go’s decision to drop 2022 presidential bid

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said he respects the decision of Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go to withdraw from the presidential race in the 2022 elections.

Duterte made the statement during a speech before the Joint National Task Force-Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in Zamboanga City on Thursday.

“Senator Bong Go, ano ba talaga, Bong? Tatakbo ka o hindi?” he said.

“Well, I would like to off-the-cuff statement. You have made a lot of people sad than happy. We respect your decision lalo na kung pamilya. Wala na tayong magawa diyan,” he added.

Last Tuesday, Go announced he won’t be pursuing his presidential bid because his family does not want him to seek the presidency. He also does not want to put Duterte in a difficult situation.

Go’s announcement came days after he admitted to having a hard time and being hesitant in seeking the country’s top post as he was already set to run for vice president.

Duterte’s former aide turned senator initially filed his candidacy for vice president under the PDP-Laban faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

But he withdrew his candidacy to run for president under Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS) party through substitution.

Bong Go withdrew from the vice presidential race after presidential daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte filed her candidacy for vice president under Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) party.

Go has yet to formalize his withdrawal following his announcement.

The Commission on Elections earlier said aspirants must personally appear before the poll body to file their statements of withdrawal. (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Bong Go withdraws presidential bid for 2022 polls

Robie de Guzman   •   November 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Tuesday announced he is no longer running for president in the 2022 elections.

In a statement, Go said he is dropping out of the presidential race because his family does not want him to seek the presidency.

He also does not want to put President Rodrigo Duterte in a difficult situation.

“Ayaw rin talaga ng aking pamilya. Kaya naisip ko na siguro nga ay hindi ko pa panahon sa ngayon. Diyos lang ang nakakaalam kung kailan talaga ang tamang panahon ko,” he said.

“Ayaw ko rin pong lalong maipit si Pangulong Duterte. Higit pa po sa tatay ang pagmamahal ko sa kanya. Matanda na po siya at marami na siyang naibigay sa bayan kung kaya’t ayaw ko nang dagdagan pa ang kanyang problema,” he added.

Go’s announcement came a week after he admitted having a hard time and being hesitant about seeking the top post in the country as he was set to run for vice president.

“Alam naman ng lahat na naging kandidato na po ako sa pagka-Bise Presidente sa loob ng mahigit isang buwan, 40 days to be exact. Subalit, dahil sa mga pangyayaring hindi inaasahan, kailangan ko pong magpaubaya,” he said.

He also reiterated his willingness to “make the supreme sacrifice for the good of our country and for the sake of unity” among their supporters.

“In the past few days po, I realized that my heart and mind are contradicting my own actions. Talagang nagreresist po ang aking katawan, puso at isipan. Tao lang po ako na nasasaktan at napapagod din,” he said.

“Sa ngayon po, iyon po ang mga rason ko. That is why I am withdrawing from the race,” he added.

Go thanked his supporters for their trust in him and President Duterte.

“Lubos ang aking pasasalamat sa lahat ng supporters na walang tigil na nagtitiwala sa akin at kay Pangulong Duterte. Kaya gusto kong magpakatotoo sa inyong lahat at ayaw ko nang patagalin pa ang bigat ng nararamdaman ko,” he said.

Meanwhile, Go advised presidential aspirants to always put first the welfare of the country and the interest of Filipinos.

Prior to serving as senator in 2019, Go served as Duterte’s special assistant.

 

 

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