Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has urged all those who have been summoned to appear in the continuing Senate Blue Ribbon Committee inquiry into the use of COVID-19 funding to come forward and face the investigation, saying that if they have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear.
Go was alluding to Michael Yang, a former adviser to President Duterte, who is allegedly linked to Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation, a business entity which is involved in multi-billion-peso pandemic response contracts last year awarded by the Procurement Service, Department of Budget and Management's Procurement Service (DBM-PS).
The Senate Blue Ribbon committee chaired by Senator Richard Gordon had issued summons to several persons, including lawyers who hail from Davao City.
“Nananawagan din po ako sa lahat, dapat na lumabas na po sila to shed light, para maklaro po sa publiko Lalung-lalo na po yung mga kakilala ni Pangulong Duterte (I am calling on everybody, they should now surface to shed light, to make it clear to the public. Especially those who are known to President Duterte),” Go said in an interview on Sunday, September 5.
“Hindi naman po dini-deny ni Pangulong Duterte na 1999 pa niya kakilala si Michael Yang. Pero hindi ibig sabihin kakilala na niya noong 1999 ay papayagan na po ni Pangulo na gumawa ng kalokohan (President Duterte is not denying that he had known Michael Yang since 1999. But this does not mean that the President will tolerate wrongdoings),” the former presidential special assistant added.
“In fact, noong pumunta ‘yan si Michael Yang ng Davao City noon, unang ginawang warning ni Pangulong Duterte sa kanya ‘pag pumasok ka sa droga dito kita ililibing. So ibig sabihin, hindi po papayag si Pangulong Duterte na mayroong kalokohan — na papasok sa kalokohan kahit na kaibigan, kahit na tumulong sa kanya. Hindi po siya papayag anumang kalokohan (In fact, when Michael Yang went to Davao, President Duterte warned him not to get involved in drugs or he will be buried there. This means President Duterte will not allow foolishness— not even his friends or someone who had helped him in the past. He will not tolerate wrongdoings),” Go recalled.
Malacañang had dismissed allegations of wrongdoing in the procurement of reportedly overpriced medical supplies for the COVID-19 pandemic, which is currently being investigated by the Senate, as contained in the initial findings of the Commission on Audit (COA).
On August 31, Go emphasized in his privilege speech that culprits who are proven to be complicit in any wrongdoing should be brought to justice. He, however, stressed that due process must be followed.
“‘Pag napatunayang may kasalanan, kasuhan. Kaya tayo mayroong Ombudsman at mayroon tayong Sandiganbayan at kung napatunayan ay dapat pong ikulong (However, if proven guilty, file the necessary case. This is the reason why we have the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan, and if proven guilty, they must go jail),” he added.
But Go hit lambasted those who are accusing the Duterte administration of “premeditated plunder” even without evidence and conclusive facts.
He said that the timing of such allegations is suspect given that the Executive branch has been transparent with its use of COVID-19 funds.
Go reiterated his appeal for people with knowledge or involvement of the transactions being questioned and have been called to appear in the probe to come forward and speak up if they have nothing to hide.
“Dapat nga po silang lumabas at magsalita rin po sa Blue Ribbon kung wala po silang kinakatakot (They should come out and talk before the Blue Ribbon if they are afraid of something),” he said.