Duterte’s aide ready to face Senate inquiry into Navy’s warship equipment project
Special Assistant to President Rodrigo Duterte Secretary Christopher "Bong" Go said on Friday he is ready to face any congressional investigation regarding the Philippine Navy's P15.7-billion controversial frigate project.
This was after the opposition senators filed a resolution calling for a probe into Go's alleged intervention in the acquisition of combat management systems (CMS) for the two warships.
"Anywhere, anytime, I'm willing to face the accusers," Go told reporters in a text message.
He reiterated that the allegations against him are false.
"I'm not hiding anything. I'm not hiding to anyone and I have nothing to do with that issue. From the Halls of the Senate & Congress, to the Courts of Justice and even basketball courts, I will cooperate and face the false and malicious accusations against me," Go stressed.
Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Francis Pangilinan, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Risa Hontiveros, Antonio Trillanes IV and Leila de Lima filed Senate Resolution No. 584 directing the committee on national defense and security and the congressional oversight committee on the Armed Forces of the Modernization Act to conduct an investigation.
The Department of National Defense welcomed the plan of the Senate to investigate the project.
"We welcome it so the facts will come out," said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer earlier reported that in a span of two weeks in January 2017, Malacanang, the DND and the Navy discussed the issue hounding the CMS of the Navy’s frigate program.
It said there was a letter to Duterte from the Navy explaining why it preferred Tacticos CMS of Thales Nederlands, Inc. over Hanwha Thales (HTC) for the CMS of the frigates.
Lorenzana, putting a marginal note on the letter that it was given to him by Go, then asked former Navy flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado to go over it and prepare a report or rebuttal to be submitted to Duterte.
But when the story came out, both Lorenzana and Mercado denied the supposed letter and cleared Go of intervening in the project. Celerina Monte, Robina Asido/DMS