Sen Go backs Duterte’s decision not to name lawmakers allegedly involved in corruption

Published November 26, 2020, 10:41 AM

by Mario Casayuran

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go today said he respects President Duterte’s stand not to name lawmakers who are allegedly involved in demanding kickbacks from contractors of government projects.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte interacts with the families affected by Typhoon Ulysses in Barangay Iraga, Solana, Cagayan following an aerial survey of severely affected areas on November 15, 2020. He was accompanied by Senator Christopher Go.

The President cited as his basis not to name the legislators the principle of separation of powers among the Executive, Judiciary and Legislative branches of the Republic.

This means that the President has no jurisdiction over them as they belong to a different and co-equal branch of government.      

The President, however, said that he would send the names of the lawmakers to the Ombudsman for further investigation.

Earlier, Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, an anti-pork barrel advocate, there are some contractors who label as ‘’gentlemen’’ lawmakers as being content with a 10 percent ‘’commission’’ from them.  

Unprintable descriptions are for lawmakers who demand as much as 30 percent ‘’commission.’’

Some observers describe the proposed 2021 P4.5 trillion national budget as ‘’election’’ budget, referring to the forthcoming 2022 national and local elections.

In an ambush interview after his visit to typhoon ‘’Ulysses’’ victims in Bagumbayan, Quezon City, Go said that President Duterte, as a lawyer, knows the limits of his powers as President.

During his ‘’Talk to the People’’ address, President Duterte refused to name lawmakers who are allegedly involved in corruption, citing the ‘separation of powers’ principle as an impediment for his office to investigate corrupt members of the legislative branch.

“I have no business investigating congressmen. They belong to a separate organ of government which is co-equal to the President,” Duterte said.

President Duterte made the statement after Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) chief Greco Belgica provided him with a list of lawmakers who allegedly demand commissions from contractors of government projects.

Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, emphasized that the President respects inter-departmental courtesy among the branches of the government, as well as the constitutional mandate of the Ombudsman to investigate irregularities in the government.

He stated that the anti-corruption task force created by President Duterte is tasked to probe into alleged anomalies within the executive branch in accordance with his disciplinary powers over such branch.

Go said that other agencies which have investigative functions could help identify government officials who are involved in illicit dealings and activities, and that cases of irregularities found through these investigations should be referred to the Office of the Ombudsman for appropriate action.

“So habang nag-iimbestiga ‘yung task force, pwede n’ya pong i-tap ‘yung Ombudsman, ang Commission on Audit (COA), ang Civil Service (Commission), ay maaari pong lalabas kung sino ‘yung mga kasabwat… Sa ngayon, ayaw ng Pangulo na pangalanan sila habang wala pang pormal na imbestigasyon (While the task force is investigating, it can tap the Ombudsman, the Commission on Audit, the Civil Service (Commission), and it is possible that the identities of the cohorts will surface…For now, the President refuses to name them in the absence of a formal investigation.)

Despite Duterte’s decision, Go assured that there would be no sacred cow in the government’s fight against corruption.

“Alam n’yo, nasa tao na ‘yan. Kung korap ka talaga, kung gusto mong pumasok sa korapsyon, eh, korap ka talaga. Parating sinasabi ni Pangulo tuwing may ina-appoint s’ya sa gobyerno,’’ Go said. (You know, it depends on the individual. If you are really corrupt, if you want to engage in corruption, indeed, you are corrupt). Everytime he appoints somebody to serve in the government, the President always mentioned…) ‘Just do what is right and avoid corruption.)

“So, pag pumasok ka sa korapsyon, hindi mo sinunod ‘yung paalala ni Pangulo, you face the consequence. Kung sisibakin ka, kakasuhan ka, ikukulong ka, face the consequence. Talagang tutuluyan kayo ni Pangulo. Tutuluyan namin kayo,’’ he added. (So, if you enter into corruption, you will not follow the reminder of the President, you face th consequence. If you will be sacked, cases will be filed against you, you will be jailed, face the consequence. The President will not spare you. We will not spare you.)