By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang said political enemies failed to prove President Duterte’s supposed involvement in the P16.7-billion frigate deal of the Department of National Defense (DND).
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement following the Senate hearing on the controversial program involving Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher “Bong” Go.
Two days before the hearing, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said he believes that Go is really innocent and that Go will not move without the instruction of his principal.
Roque, in a press briefing in Malacañang this afternoon, said Trillanes should have backed up his claims during the hearing that President Duterte was indeed involved in the controversial program.
“Ang hamon po kay Senator Trillanes ay ilabas ang ebidensya. Napakadali pong magbato ng ganyang mga paratang pero mahirap magbigay ng pruweba (The challenge for Senator Trillanes is to produce evidence. It is easy to accuse but difficult to prove accusations),” Roque said.
Roque, in a radio interview this morning, said it was clear that Go was not really the target of the hearing but President Duterte.
“Sa amin ay malinaw naman po na nagdeklara na si Senator Trillanes na ang pinapahiwatig niya ay diumano si Presidente ang nasa likod ng lahat ng ito (It is clear to us that Senator Trillanes has expressed that it is President Duterte who is allegedly behind all this),” Roque said over Super Radyo DZBB.
“So kaya naman po ay dapat ipakita sa lahat na wala nga pong tinatago, at ngayon po, tanging katotohanan lamang ang isisiwalat ni (So we have to show to everybody that we have nothing to hide and only the truth will be revealed by) Secretary Bong Go,” he added.
Go, in his opening statement in the said hearing, also said it was clear that the issue was being aimed to destroy the reputation of the President.
“Perhaps this their intention–to block the implementation of this important security program, and make sure that this administration will fail,” Go said.
“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 to be used to advance others’ self-serving interest,” he added.
Go, while addressing his supporters outside the Senate, said that Duterte’s critics should just wait until 2022 because the President has no intention of going beyond his six-year term.
“Nandito po kami para maglingkod hanggang matapos ang termino niya (President Duterte). Pagkatapos po, uuwi na po kami ng Davao (We are here to serve until President Duterte’s term ends. After that, we will go back home to Davao),” he said.
Malacañang earlier explained that it was impossible for anyone from the present administration to intervene in the frigate deal as the program was initiated during the time of President Benigno Aquino III.
But despite the controversy, Malacañang said the implementation of the said program will continue as both the present administration and its predecessor agreed that having the frigates would benefit the country.