Bong Go open to probing corruption issues at PCSO, Philhealth

Robie de Guzman   •   July 30, 2019   •   1364

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.

PDP Laban’s ‘BaGo’ tandem received well by supporters

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Partido Demoratiko Pilipino-Lakas Bayan (PDP-Laban) said the tandem of  presidential aspirant Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa with Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go as his vice president has been well received by supporters.

PDP-Laban Secretary General Melvin Matibag said the party is set to roll out the caravan this week for the two candidates dubbed as the “BaGo” tandem.

“We are ready for that, we are preparing for that. But let me state it again, we are already rolling the campaign of Bato-Go tandem. Sabi nga namin, “BaGo 2022’ para sa tuloy-tuloy na pagbabago (BaGo 2022 for change to continue),” he said.

Matibag added that it may look like a last-minute decision but Dela Rosa has been one of the choices as the standard-bearer of the ruling party since months ago, and his selection went through the proper process.

“He [Bato] is being received very well,” Matibag said.

“I admire the humility of Senator Bato na sinasabi niya, ‘Hindi naman talaga ako, mayroon talagang ibang pwede,’  and that is a good character of a next president of the republic,” he added. AAC

 

Bong Go denies ‘substitution’ speculations

Maris Federez   •   October 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has denied speculations that he is paving the way for the candidacy of another individual through substitution. He reiterated that he is committed to his decision to run for vice president in the upcoming 2022 national elections, a statement released Wednesday (October 13) said.

“I can’t speak for the other candidates. Hindi po ako makapagsalita kung ano po ang magiging desisyon ng partido. As far as I am concerned, sa aking tinakbuhang posisyon, desidido na po ako,” Go said in an interview during the launch of the country’s 143rd Malasakit Center in Tangub City, Misamis Occidental on Tuesday.

Go said that President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to retire from politics prompted him to take on the challenge to run for vice president.

He further noted PDP-Laban’s preparations for the elections, stressing that someone must step forward for the party so that the administration may continue its programs and pursue further the positive change that the president has started.

“Ang importante para sa akin ngayon ay economic recovery, makabalik na tayo sa normal na pamumuhay. ‘Yun po ang importante,” he added.

Go, nevertheless, stressed that despite his vice presidential bid, he remains focused on his duties as a senator and public servant.

“Ayaw ko munang pag-usapan ang pulitika kaya parati kong sinasabi, bakuna muna bago ang pulitika dahil baka wala na tayong pag-usapang pulitika kung hindi natin malampasan ang krisis na ito. Buhay po ang nakataya dito,” he said. —/mbmf

Duterte won’t withdraw memo barring gov’t officials from Pharmally hearings

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night (October 6) defended his memorandum order barring government officials from attending the Senate investigation on the government’s management of pandemic funds.

During his regular public address, Duterte slammed senators who were calling for the withdrawal of the memo directing government officials and employees to no longer attend the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings.

“Kayo ang nag-umpisa nito eh. Kayo ang nag-umpisa nitong lahat (You’re the ones who started this. You started all of this), he said referring to the panel.

READ: DOJ chief defends Duterte memo barring Cabinet execs from attending Senate panel probe

The committee is currently conducting investigation on alleged irregularities in the government’s procurement of COVID-19 pandemic supplies last year.

“I have to protect the Executive department from the incessant and steady dose of insults coming from the senators,” Duterte said. “There ain’t no way that I will withdraw it. You can do your worst and I will do mine,” he added.

The Chief Executive said government employees, including Cabinet members, should be focused on addressing the  pandemic instead of participating in Senate hearings. The President also slammed Senator Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan for threatening government employees.

“I’m told that it was Pangilinan who said that ‘the worst is yet to come’ to mga empleyado (the employees). Who are you to threaten or even to intimidate government workers?” Duterte said. AAC

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