(Statement read by Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go at the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security hearing on 19 February 2018 on the AFP Modenrization Program, particularly on the acquisition of two Philipipne Navy Frigates)
To the Honorable Chairman, members of the Committee on National Defense and Security, fellow public servants and all others assembled here, ladies and gentlemen, magandang umaga po.
I speak before this Committee, primarily for the purpose of clearing my name and ultimately, for the purpose of getting to the bottom of this frigate controversy so that the Filipino people may know the whole truth.
Sa totoo lang po, sobrang hirap sagutin ang mga bintang kung wala ka namang kinalaman. I did not intervene in the acquisition of the two frigates by DND nor interfere in the selection of its combat management system. That being said, I have no reason to cover and hide behind an executive session. I am ready and willing to face all these accusations in a public hearing. In fact, I have requested the Senate for a full-blown investigation on the matter. I thank the Chairman, Senator Gringo Honasan, for accommodating for a public and transparent hearing.
Sa katunayan nga po, may interview ang isang senador na nandito ngayon at sinabi niya na wala akong kinalaman sa frigate acquisition. Sana po ay panindigan niya ito.
Ang pinag-usapan po ngayon ay naging isyu lamang nang maglabas ang Rappler at Inquirer ng fake news at sinabing ako po ay nakialam. Dahil ang lahat na ito ay nagsimula galing sa isang irresponsible reporting. I would like also to sincerely request the Senate to continue with the hearing and investigation on fake news. At baka po pwede ninyong ipatawag naman ang Rappler at Inquirer sa susunod na hearing at para naman matanong naman sila sa sinulat nilang balita. Hindi lang po ako ang biktima dito, marami po tayo. Tapos na po ito sa panahon ng Aquino administration. Walang nabago, walang binago, walang nakialam at walang pinakialaman sa kontrata. Pangit man pakinggan pero matatawag po ito na photo finish ang kontrata dahil hinabol po ito bago matapos ang Aquino administration.
Inosente at idinamay lang po ako sa isyung ito upang siraan ang administrasyon ni Pangulong Duterte. We are being castigated for endorsing a complaint to the proper agency, a mere routinary endorsement which is one of the thousands of complaints we endorsed as part of PRRD’s agenda to open the gates and ears of Malacañang to all complaints against public officials and against the bureaucracy. Where else can the countless, helpless and hopeless Filipino go if we close our doors to them? The thousands who have knocked our doors to elevate their concerns bear witness to the fact that this administration has been very receptive to their grievances. Malinaw po ang utos ng ating Pangulo na kahit na noong mayor pa po siya ng Davao City na lahat po ng may hinaing at reklamo na may laman ay dapat bigyan agad ng aksyon.
This Frigate project needs to be implemented now when this country is faced with grave security threats. Labis na po kailangan ng Philippine Navy, sir, ang proyektong ito sa pagpatrolya sa ating mga karagatan. But this controversy is seriously derailing the implementation of this security measure. Perhaps, this is really their intention to block the implementation of this important security program and ensure that this administration will fail. But we will not allow them to win because the truth is on our side. I am confident that the Senate will be a vehicle of truth than be used to advance other’s self-serving interest. We place our full trust in the Senate to put an end to this.
Your Honor, uulitin ko lang po, mahirap sagutin ang mga bintang na wala ka namang kinalaman.
Thank you, Your Honors.